May 2018 Newsletter: Rare Trapiche Emeralds from Colombia

Trapiche emerald is a rare variety of emerald, prized by gem collectors. These unusual gems are characterized by a six-pointed radial pattern of ray-like spokes of dark impurities. The name comes from the Spanish term trapiche (pronounced tra-PEE-che) because the pattern displayed resembles the spokes of a cogwheel used in sugar mills in South America.

This type of emerald is exceptionally rare and has been recovered, only occasionally, from the western side of the Eastern Cordillera Basin, in the Muzo, Coscuez and Peñas Blancas mines of Colombia.

These crystals are characterized by a central core, six radial arms in a symmetric pattern and so-called dendrites between the arms and around the core. The effect is striking and beautiful, and these special emeralds are not just held in rare gem collections, but are set in unique jewelry pieces as well.

Trapiche Emerald Trapiche Emerald Trapiche Emerald

Trapiche Emeralds are found in black shales in just a few Colombian mines. While they are formed from the same fluids as gem-quality Colombian emeralds, their texture results from a complex growth history characterized by fluid pressure variations. The black shale matrix is trapped by the crystal growth in a distinctive radial pattern.

The Trapiche Emerald gems are typically cut as horizontal slices from a long crystal. Slices from the same crystal will show the same radial pattern. But each crystal tends to be unique and the variations are fascinating. These beautiful and rare emeralds will make an important addition to any gem collection.

See our collection of Rare Trapiche Emeralds from Colombia


Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature rare beryls from our collection, including Trapiche Emerald, Red Beryl and Mint Beryl. Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

0.51 ct Red Beryl from Utah, USA

0.51 ct Red Beryl from Utah, USA  [SOLD]
Red beryl is an extremely rare variety of beryl that derives its red color from trace amounts of manganese. Crystals suitable for cutting gems have been found in only one location in the world, the Ruby-Violet claims in the Wah Wah Mountains of Beaver County, Utah. Red beryl rough is rarely larger than one carat in weight and most faceted red beryls are only 1/4 carat or less. This is a gem prized by rare gem collectors.
11.11 ct Aquamarine from Brazil
11.11 ct Aquamarine from Brazil  [SOLD]

An outstanding deep blue Aquamarine from Brazil! You will rarely find this intense color saturation in any Aquamarine, and most aquas with a deep tone have a significant gray secondary hue. But this 11.11 ct is a pure rich blue with no gray. Very clean and well cut, this rare stone would be an important addition to any gem collection. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

9.22 ct Morganite from Brazil

A lovely orangey-pink Morganite from Brazil in an elegant pair shape. This is beautiful material, completely loupe clean with excellent brilliance. At 20 x 12 mm, this fine gem will make a stunning pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

3.16 ct Trapiche Emerald from Colombia

3.16 ct Trapiche Emerald from Colombia  [SOLD]

A very rare Trapiche Emerald from Colombia in a large 3 carat size! This is a top specimen with a bright green body color and symmetrical radial inclusions. Not only exceptionally rare, these unusual emeralds are strkingly beautiful. A splendid addition to your collection and a unique jewelry stone.

See our collection of Trapiche Emeralds

6.35 ct Set of Traphiche Emeralds from Colombia

Traphiche Emeralds are very rare, but a matched set of round Trapiche Emeralds is beyond rare! These stunning pieces are highly translucent with well-defined radial arms. The individual gems are about 8 mm each, and will set up beautifully as a set (earrings and a ring or pendant) or a multistone jewelery design.

See the video


News from AJS and the Gems World

Tanzania Builds Wall to Secure Tanzanite Mines

Wall in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has constructed a 24 km wall around the tanzanite mines in the Mirerani hills in northern Tanzania. The mustard-yellow wall, several meters high, has only a single entrance, secured by the army. According to the Tanzanian president John Magufuli, about 40% of tanzanite production had been lost to smugglers. Based on a 2017 decision, all wholesale trade in tanzanite must now be carried out under the control of the Tanzanian Central Bank inside the new wall.

The effect of the new policy on tanzanite supply and pricing has yet to be determined.


Blue Diamond Sets Auction Record at Sotheby's New York

3.47 ct Blue Diamond Ring

A super rare 3.47 ct. fancy intense blue diamond sold for $6.7 million at Sotheby’s latest auction in New York on April 19. The diamond set a new price-per-carat record for a fancy intense blue diamond at $1.92 million per carat. The price of the cut-cornered, rectangular, step cut diamond nearly tripled Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate of between $2 million and $2.5 million.



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

What is the rarest gemstone in your collection? JC, USA

It's an interesting question, but not an easy one to answer since we have so many rare stones that we've acquired over the years. But if we had to single out one exceptionally rare variety, we would mention Cobaltocalcite, a unusual calcite colored by traces of cobalt. We were able to acquire some very high quality rough Cobaltocalcite from the estate of a collector, and we cut some beautiful pieces with a saturated reddish-purple color with excellent translucency. It's fair to say that you won't find Cobaltocalcite of this quality anywhere else in the world. GIA has issued special reports on several of our Cobaltocalcites and featured these rare gems in the Spring 2015 edition of Gems & Gemology.

I notice that chrome tourmaline and tsavorite garnet look very similar. Could you explain the difference between them? SL, UK

Chrome tourmaline and tsavorite garnet do indeed have a similar color -- an intense forest green with slightly yellowish to bluish secondary hues. Both gems are colored by traces of chromium and vanadium, and both are found only in East Africa, in the region bordering Tanzania and Kenya. Due to its higher refractive index, tsavorite garnet is the more brilliant and fiery gemstone, and is regarded by gem dealers as one of the finest of all green gemstones, rivalling emerald. Chrome tourmaline is valued for its intense color. Indeed, the color of chrome tourmaline is so intense that high quality stones are generally found only in smaller sizes. Chrome tourmalines over 2 carats tend to be dark and overcolored, and larger specimens with a brighter color are rare and valuable.



All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron