Rarest Engagement Gems

Padparadscha Sapphire, GIA Certified, Natural GIA Certified Diamonds, 18k

40380C20-0911-4B46-B997-7224F1B62D7D

DE7E8EA2-7EE9-4F2E-B0B4-BB589A26C390

Pink Topaz, to be mounted. No treatment, very rare. Most topaz is irradiated to get this color. Ready to mount. Brazil.

A8147487-6A26-413B-93C1-85E8B41C9903

Teaberry Pink (also known as Imperial Pink) Malaya Garnet. Very Rare, ready to mount. One of the rarest garnets on earth. Hard enough for everyday wear. Perfect engagement gem. Rough Malaya garnet may no longer be legally removed from East Africa.

BE894A9B-E118-4117-AA61-F249683AFEE3

Considered the finest example of Russian, dichroic Rubellite. This super rare tourmaline is not the standard red or pink and comes with an information sheet explaining just how rare this gem is and why it is so dazzling and beautiful,) This mega-Rare, flawless, tourmaline is one of the rarest in the world. This flawless, master-cut gem is known as “The Tigress,” and it is as exotic as its namesake, the tiger. Shown here in shade it is even more dazzling in sunlight. An engagement gem for the wild child.

19AB8B44-93FD-4FF8-9245-D4AAED64FF6D

This neon-pink Mozambique Rubellite, though large at 7 carats, is stunning and would make any girl happy mounted in platinum with a couple of accent diamonds. A dead ringer for ruby this is natural, earth mined, Rubellite tourmaline.

C8790B26-342A-470F-AB41-7C1973839CE3

Over 50,000 times more rare than sapphire; this blue spinel is from one of the rarest locations and most desirable, Madagascar. Usually over 3500.00 per carat for true Madagascan, blue spinel (untreated), you’ll be pleased with the price. About as hard as sapphire it will stand up to daily wear. Royal Blue!

Old Virginia Gem Co.

Intense, Apple-Green Garnet, Our Rarest!

fullsizeoutput_708aThough we deal with some of the rarest garnets on earth few compare to this Siberian gem, which is rare, on so many levels.

Hydrogrossular Garnet is one of the rarest gems on earth. It is almost always opaque and on rare occasion translucent. Then there is the rarest clarity in hydrogrossular garnet which is transparent. Even if you were to find this, “needle in a haystack,” so to speak it, would almost surely have inclusions; so factor in the rarity of an eye-clean gem and your proverbial needle is now in a haystack the size of the state of Texas.

Okay, so this is a very rare gem, right? But wait! Now, factor in color, the most desirable of which is – intense, apple-green. Then to make this gem rarer yet, let us get ridiculous and consider the source of this gem, one of the coldest, cruelest climates on earth – Siberia. Let us make it more preposterous and say you are even able to search for this gem in Russia’s, “frozen hell,” but, actually survive one of the coldest, most remote and desolate places on earth. Now, we must point at yonder mountain range, (the Ural Mountains), and inform you that the gem is somewhere hidden, “Up yonder.”

Stalin, and other Czars throughout the ages used Siberia to send their worst enemies to disappear, or die. There was no fate so feared in the Russian empire as to be sent to the tortious Gulag (prisons of death), in Siberia. Unless, you have the romantic, storybook resiliency of Dr. Zhivago, a trip to Siberia was/is generally a one-way ticket. If you don’t starve, you will freeze and you would be apt to freeze whilst starving. Finally, let’s add yet another level to the rarity of this gem and say you must be in perhaps the most dangerous part of Siberia and send you up a frozen mountain, (the Ural Mountain Range), to look for this, “impossible rock.” Now perhaps, you get an idea of how rare this gem really is.

So, when people ask me why I am asking 5500.00 a carat for this gem I tell them they would be better off to buy a fake, mislabeled, or treated gem off of eBay, ETSY, etc.; or they can head to Siberia in search of this gem and most likely come back with nothing close to this gem and spend more than the price of this gem on plane fare and the expedition if you could get approval to mine there. I can’t replace this gem, therefore I have established a price based on the beauty of this gem, plus a mere fraction of its rarity is factored into my price. It is priced at what I feel it is worth to me and I simply can’t replace this gem, I have looked all over the place.

Okay, enough about this gem, now let’s take a look at what is and what is not a hydrogrossular garnet. First of all, let’s exclude all treated gems though we will touch upon the various treatments and alternate names this gem is known by. The only treatment should be cut and standard polish. No heat, no glass filling or treatment of any kind, period. The gems I have found labeled or tagged hydrogrossular garnet online, (thus far), have all had heavy-inclusions, (especially a black-pepper type of inclusion, usually magnetite) or, they are milky, opaque, or a sickly green color, if green at all. Others have turned out to be fake, mislabeled and/or treated even when they are translucent (like jade), not transparent (like diamonds). One particular gem looked great in the photo but in the video was heavily pock-marked and far from translucent.

Many of the sellers who have what looks to be high-quality gems use tricky language to make you think your gems are untreated like using the words, “earth-mined,” and “natural,” and if read thoroughly there is usually some form of treatment within the verbiage. “Earth-mined or “natural,” in their interpretation simply means at least most of the gem was pulled out of the dirt somewhere on earth and it started life with at least some of the natural gem intact. It does not mean they have not coated, heated, glass filled and/or treated the gem.

New language now makes it illegal to use the terms, “earth-mined or “natural,” for glass/beryllium filled gems. Therefore it is safe to assume that this gem is best purchased from a dealer, or collector, you trust and whom might actually be apt to obtain gems of this rarity and quality.  Also, it should be a dealer/miner who  will agree to have the gem GIA tested and/or refund your money if you have it tested and it fails to be the described gem or has treatment of any kind. Keep in mind, a GIA test has taken over 4 weeks in some cases to complete and ship back so make sure to factor that timeframe into your bargaining and get it in writing! The dealer should know to some degree the history of the gem, from mine to market. If you trust their story, I know one dealer who has a romantic story for every gem in his collection. When I go to visit him I tell my wife I will be out, “romancing the stone,” ha…ha.

There are private gem laboratories that can give you much more detail than GIA on rare gems including origin but they are expensive and hard to book. If you have an extremely are gem you may contact me for lab booking. GIA does not provide origin reports on gems this rare. They will tell you what it is and if they detect treatment only.  Other commercial labs I would not even trust with those two bits of information.

So assuming you feel comfortable that you have located an untreated gem lets look at what makes up a hydrogrossular garnet and the difference between our focal gem and grossular garnet, grossularite, hebschite and demantoid garnet – which is frequently tagged as hydrogrossular garnet. A quick online search reveals the following quip:

Hydrogrossular garnet is typically translucent to opaque and is usually available as cabochons, but on rare occasion may be found as transparent, faceted gemstones. … Hydrogrossular is a variety of grossular garnet where hydroxide partially replaces silica.

Also we can identify that at least some quality of opaque/translucent hydrogrossular garnet is sold as jade, jadeite and sold under the misnomers: African jade, Transvaal jade and garnet jade.  I have also seen this gem selling as, demantoid garnet. 

Lets go shopping for transvaal jade, garnet jade, african jade and demantoid garnet under the taghydrogrossular garnet as well as for the real thing and see what we turn up today. First lets search Google for Russian Hydrogrossular Garnet Green Transparent

 

 

Contracting Your Own Jewelry Saves $$$$

Choosing and Buying Your Dream Gem

 One of the biggest ways jewelry stores make money is buying gems from a wholesale broker and then marking them up double or more. 

If the average gem changes hands 9 times before it reaches the, jeweler when is the stone best obtained? 

Answer: As close to the mine as possible, before it changes hands more than 3 times.

Each time a hand touches your gem the price goes up. It starts with a miner who discovers the gem. The supervisor of the miner sometimes gets a bonus along with the miner when a gem of value is found. For a very valuable gem the miner gives a small percentage to everyone on the crew which encourages the miners to not smuggle out the stone and sell it on the black market. The other crew members are more apt to turn in a fellow miner if they know they will be losing their bonus for being a member of the discovery team. But, mine workers still smuggle out stones which we do not encourage.

Then comes the “true broker,” who buys the gem(s) from the mine owner. The true broker markets the rough, uncut gem to a “buyer,” who takes a group of “rough,” gems to a cutter for grading/cut and then sells the stone(s) to another “wholesale,” broker as cut gem(s).

Either the stone continues changing hands (which usually happens,)or the buyer having paid for the cutting of the stones sells to yet another broker who markets the stones to either an American broker or a flipper who sells the stone to a jeweler or the general public. Sometimes a stone gets flipped multiple times at this point with the price of the gem soaring ever higher.

The average gem changes hands 9 times before reaching a jeweler or flipper and then you. Each hand it touches causes the price of the gem to rise. The way to get quality gems at true wholesale pricing means having a broker who deals with miners, cutters and a true wholesale broker and keep those extra hands out of the sale. This requires having a wholesale broker willing to sell single stones to an individual and who has connections around the world in or near the mines.

This is how we are able to offer you stones at prices your jeweler would not match even if they could find the rare stones we deal in. Jewelers prefer diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies because these are easier stones to obtain from the large gem brokers and they pay for the privilege of not having to send money to foreign countries, track down rare stones and grab them as quickly as they appear as close to the mine as possible. As an avid collector of gems this is what I do. I always try to stay as close to the mine as possible. The only brokers we deal with are very close to the mine and we are offered these gems first, because we buy a lot and have established relationships world-wide. When we cut out hands, we save you money.

What Is Rubellite and Why Is It So Expensive?

Rubellite is a form of tourmaline which closely resembles ruby. Specimens have been found in royal jewel collections mistaken as ruby for centuries. Under modern testing techniques large rubies mounted in crowns, necklaces and scepters have turned out to be rubellite tourmaline.

fullsizeoutput_2880

Rubellite is one of the most valuable tourmalines and can sell for thousands of dollars a carat. Lower quality or standard pink and red tourmaline may sell for much less. The word rubellite was coined from the root word(s), “ruby like,” which morphed into the more scientific sounding term, rubellite.

The price of tourmaline has gone up substantially with the resurgence of interest in colored gems and popularity of tourmaline which comes in virtually every color. The most expensive varieties are rubellite and the (usually,) artificially heated newcomer, “Paraiba,” tourmaline which is subjected to high heat to go from pinkish red to greenish-blue or “swimming pool blue,” that is so prized in jewelry. Naturally occurring (no heat,) Paraiba, blue tourmaline from Brazil can exceed the price of unheated sapphire and sells in excess of 10,000.00 a carat.

Heating also improves clarity, so beware of the, “too perfect,” rubellite. While Paraiba for the most part has gone down in price; rubellite continues to increase in value right along with its namesake, the ruby. As ruby prices soar the price of rubellite climbs too. Rubellite like emerald is a type III gem, meaning it rarely comes without inclusions (imperfections visible to the naked eye) however, unless the imperfections detract from the beauty or integrity of the gem they do little if anything to bring down the gem’s value.
You will almost never see an emerald without eye visible inclusions and the same goes for rubellite.

Rubellite should have inclusions and the “gemmy,” look of an emerald; only in the ruby range shades of red to purplish pink. While they do exist, the chances of you finding a large (5 carat +) rubellite without inclusions for less than $10,000.00 a carat would be, odd and highly suspect. If a rubellite has no inclusions it is most likely not of the highest quality, or even a fake. However, as with emeralds, the inclusions should not detract from the beauty of the gem. In other words, expect inclusions in fine rubellite and emerald it is part of the gems identity and signature. If the inclusions detract from the gem’s beauty, on, too close to the surface, or unattractive, pass it by. If the gem is beautiful get over this American obsession with clear and clean, which is fine for diamonds but not rubellite, or emerald, again like emerald they are Type III Gems.

After color and clarity, origin affects value in rubellite the most. The finest rubellite we have seen comes out of Nigeria. Mozambique and Brazil and is a dead ringer for the color of a top ruby. This material is expensive and hard to come by but some dealers were fortunate to buy the rough early on. This allows those dealers to sell the gems at competitive pricing, for now.

Rubellite has retained, even gained in its value and is considered by many in the jewelry industry to be a top investment gem but be sure you know who you are dealing with. If in doubt it is strongly suggested you buy a gem certified by experts such as the labs of GIA. They can detect heat, type of stone and even the origin of a gem. Though large (5 carat+), rubellite can still be too expensive for many people to invest in if you buy wisely it should maintain its value and may be handed down from generation to generation.

Rubellite is hard enough to be worn in rings, but most people consider it too precious for everyday wear. Gems are always safer in pendants than on the hand and a large rubellite set in an enhancer and hung from a strand of pearls can make a regal statement in any crowd. But it will take daily wear if you choose, but avoid chemicals.

fullsizeoutput_64c1

Remember, a top-quality gem does not need diamonds to be beautiful, usually small accent diamonds are enough. A good stone should look good even if mounted alone in a solitaire mounting. Diamonds drive the price up. If you do use diamonds, high quality is better than larger inferior diamonds. A lot of younger buyers are choosing man-made diamonds which are real diamonds but not earth- mined and they are conflict free plus less expensive than earth-mined diamonds.

A quality rubellite set in jewelry with accent diamonds will be more rare than the diamonds surrounding it. Diamonds are not rare as gems go. They are expensive because the mine owners control the release of the gems to keep demand up. They have to store them in underground vaults because if they were all released at once people would start thinking about the fact that you can buy diamonds at Walmart, but not rubellite tourmaline.

One other fact is, the finest rubellite is never brown in tone. Pigeon blood red, (purplish pink) is the finest color of rubellite tourmaline, at least as far as most jewelers are concerned.

Places Rubellite are mined:
Afghanistan, Nigeria, Madagascar, United States, Brazil

This blog was written by Ezekiel Loftin of Chateau Peridot a subsidiary of Twisted South LLC.

A

The Rarest Topaz, Russian Green

In mid 2018 Ezekiel (Zeke) Loftin purchased one of the rarest topaz on the planet. A flawless 80.90 carat, dichroic, Russian Imperial Green topaz, cut from rough discovered in the Old Imperial Mines of Russia.

(above – The dichroic gem changes color, golden green in sun/candle light and a mint green in standard indoor light or shade).

These mines are now locked and closed but had operated for centuries under the Russian czars supplying much of the material for the Russian Imperial Gems. The rough was smuggled out of Russia at great risk in the 20th century. Two pieces of the rough were sold to the Japanese Imperial Jewelry Company who supply gems and make jewelry for the Japanese Royal Family and the last of the rough was cut into this 80 carat, flawless, Imperial green topaz in Europe in 2017. It is believed to be the rarest and surely one of the most beautiful topaz in the world.

It has a name, Zeke Loftin calls it the, “Ekaterina Topaz.”

Collector, Zeke Loftin of Twisted South, purchased the gem and is in his collection to date. Zeke Loftin explains, “People have no idea that over 99% of the topaz on the market, especially blue, is irradiated in nuclear reactors to make it turn a deeper color and/or heated, to enhance color and clarity. The fact that this huge, green topaz is completely untreated, unheated and has not been altered or irradiated make it astronomically rare. Alteration of this gem from rough was limited to a world class cut and polish. Adding to this the rare location and huge risk someone took purchasing and removing this gem from Russia is a story we have been encouraged not to even tell We were asked to withhold known names; with exception of where the other two pieces cut from this rough went, stated prior.

fullsizeoutput_6223

The gem changes color from mint green, to a golden green when viewed in sunlight, or candlelight. Here shown in sunlight streaming through a window.

The original Imperial colors of topaz were green and pink, with some blue. They were called, “Imperial,” because they went directly into the Royal gem collection of Russia though some of the material was gifted to other rulers and almost all were bought up when Russia fell. Tiffany’s auctioned off what remained of the Imperial gems in the early 1900’s. Many of the Imperial pieces were stolen by courtiers and servants and used to flee Russia during the revolution. Huge gems were recut into smaller gems to avoid recognition and jewelry pieces worth fortunes were melted down. Servants even stole gems and sold pieces worth millions of dollars for as little as 50.00; to flee the chaos when the crown fell. The entire royal family was executed, even the children.

Portrait_of_Empress_Elizaveta_Petrovna_by_Ivan_Vishnyakov

Elizabeth, ruled Russia with an iron fist and was responsible for bringing, Catherine the Great (for which the Ekaterina Topaz was named), from Poland to marry her nephew Peter, the last pure descendant of Peter the Great. She owned over 30,000 of these elaborate and bejeweled gowns and that alone kept the Imperial Russian mines running day and night.

People think this happened so long ago, but the Royal family were slaughtered in the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century. So many diamonds were released onto the open market when the Royal Jewels were dispersed that the huge, diamond company, De Beer’s was concerned that diamond prices would crash. The royal crown, covered in diamonds weighed 8 pounds alone. American industrialists and royal families around the world clamored to get hold of pieces of the Russian collection. Tiffany’s, assembled as much as they could of the collection to bring to auction, but even gems within the assembled, catalogued collection by Tiffany’s were disappearing from the auction list. They were speculated to be pre-sold, secretly, for staggering amounts of money prior to auction. Most likely, purchased by an American Industrialist.

 

Above, you see pieces of green beryl and topaz (Along with enough diamonds to make DeBeers concerned,) from the royal collection. Photos of the Royal Collection, (Much was never recovered and no complete photos of the collection exist), along with correspondence about the missing items during the historic and mysterious Tiffany’s sale of the, Russian Royal gems. Note the true, Imperial Pink Topaz necklace.

Now the term “Imperial Topaz,” has been snapped up as a brand name to sell golden-pink topaz coming out of Brazil, (usually heated), but I assure you, vibrant pink and green Russian topaz held that distinctive title, prior. Golden-pink topaz from brazil can sell for about 2500.00 + per carat (even when heated,) and there is a lot more of this material so you can easily stamp a market price on it. This green topaz of Russian origin, the original imperial topaz is so rare there are no trustworthy auction records to refer to because it is simply unavailable to sell. Most green topaz you may find online and in brick & mortar stores will be treated with dye, mislabeled (Green quartz, chrome diopside, light emerald, glass), irradiated or heated. A search of Russian Green Topaz on Pinterest turned up only chrome diopside, emeralds, green zircon and at the top of Pinterest is the amazing, 80 carat, “Ekaterina,” Imperial Green Topaz; which is listed on Loftin’s company, Chateau Peridot, but given a random price and always marked SOLD, or ON HOLD.

fullsizeoutput_6061

True Imperial topaz. Russian pink, in a necklace from the Russian Imperial Collection.

Loftin was asked why he priced it at 10,000.00 and then marked it SOLD. He replied, “Because I want the world to see it, but I have no interest in selling it now. Certainly not for 10 grand. Hopefully, it will end up in museum, maybe alongside gems from the same mine from the Russian Imperial Collection. We have considered having it monuted into a necklace. It can be given a price but it is truly priceless and with nothing to compare to it on the market this gem is worth what someone would pay for it. To be honest this is as close to priceless as I will probably ever get.

IMG_6353

Prior to the Tiffany’s auction of the Royal gem collection.

 

 

Engagement Rings, Brokering Your Own Ring to Save Money.

s-l1600-42

This teaberry pink spinel is an example of the gems women are choosing in place of Diamonds. Millennial buyers want rarity, color and value.

Most of the cost of your engagement ring is the main stone, usually a diamond in the past. Did you know engagement size diamonds are not rare, they are a controlled commodity. The huge diamond companies keep them vaulted underground and release them in increments. If they released all of them at one time the cost of diamonds would crash. Like in the movie, Blood Diamonds this would really happen which is why the huge diamond companies wanted the free flowing mines shut down, too many diamonds were flooding the market without the careful inventory control. Think about this. Walmart sells diamonds but never an untreated blue spinel, sapphire or ruby. They are really rare and they are not abundant enough to even fill an order and unlike diamonds the more spinel that hits the market the higher they go because many of the mines are depleted and there are no huge underground warehouses hoarding the excess material.

Blue spinel is an example of a gem so rare that when one buying surge hit the market it depleted almost the entire supply in Sri Lanka, Burma and Vietnam. The price went off the chart and it will rise even more in the future unless they find a new source and currently there is not one. That makes spinel an investment gem. Something you buy now because it may not be there later or be so expensive like Burmese and Kashmir sapphire it will be mined out completely and sell for astronomical prices per carat. And blue spinel was never treated like 99% of all sapphire it was naturally the vivid blues, pinks, violets, purples and reds. Blue is now treated with cobalt which is the natural element in spinel that makes it blue. The treated stones are generally gray or muddy in color and almost worthless and treated spinel is not worth much more and can be detected by the labs like GIA. Ruby can still be found untreated as well as sapphire but if we send the same gem to two labs they can come back as treated from one lab and untreated from the other. Spinel treatment on the other hand is of only one type and can be easily and accurately detected. The bulk of the blue spinel gems we have at Chateau Spinel were purchased prior to any treatment even being available so we have high confidence in our gems and our sources.

Ruby and sapphire even if treated with simple heat only are often much more beautiful than any diamond. Diamonds sparkle and have the illusion of being rare regardless of size and now they can treat diamonds to improve their color and clarity. All treatments lower the value, period. Even oiling an emerald can drop its value by over 10,000.00 a carat! The labs can even detect oil on the gem from the equipment they use to mine the rough.

Untreated good. Treated bad is a simple rule of thumb. Exceptions are simple heat in sapphires. Just assume your sapphire is treated unless you have a GIA cert saying otherwise.

Also, people are now buying synthetic diamonds like Moissanite that are lab created diamonds that will fool diamond testing equipment. Why? Because the equipment only realizes they are a real diamond not that they are manmade. These manmade diamonds are creeping into the market every single day and being sold as natural earth mined diamonds.

People are choosing diamonds as accent stones for engagement jewelry which allows them to add nicer diamonds at a smaller size and then add a ruby, spinel, emerald and even rare garnet or tourmaline as the main gem. Sapphire also continues to be a popular choice as the main gem in engagement rings and blue spinel (untreated, see our blog on buying blue spinel,) is an up and comer more rare than ruby, sapphire and diamond and comes in extraordinary shades of pink, red, clear and the rarest and most beautiful blues.

By purchasing your main gem you can get as much as 300% savings and stretch your engagement budget. Chateau Peridot will allow you to make reasonable offers on gems just like they do their wholesale customers (jewelers) but you have to ask (via email contact@chateauperidot.com , and we generally do not advertise this fact. Chateau Peridot will also allow you to use their artisan and wholesale jewelers to design and build your ring in platinum and gold settings and you can have an original ring for less than the cost of a cookie cutter ring setting. They do not mark up settings by 100-300% but instead offer it as a service for an average 29% fee or less.

Here are some examples of main stone alternates available at  Chateau Peridot and you may make offers as high as 50% off on any gem. More than that and your request will possibly be rejected or we would counter. On some gems we have room in price due to our bulk buys and cutting our own rough which we buy direct from the mines or our agents worldwide. Pricing is formulated based on the current value of the gem. I would not make offers on sale items. Below are blue and pink spinel, green tsavorite garnets cut by an award winning gem cutter, and top quality ruby.

You may visit the site here Visit Chateau Peridot Site