Carrying an asking price of $5 million, the recently revealed "Star of Jolie" weighs 888.88 carats and is said to be the largest gem-quality star sapphire in the world.Read More
Emblazoned with 394 hand-set diamonds weighing a total of 9.25 carats, the eye-popping Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup ring commemorates the team's impressive back-to-back championships. It was the first time in 19 years that a National Hockey League team has accomplished that feat.Read More
On November 14, Christie's Geneva will offer for sale the largest D-flawless diamond to ever hit the auction block. The 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond was cut from a 404.20-carat rough named “4 de Fevereiro," which was discovered at Angola's Lulo mine in February 2016.Read More
A sparkly red, white and green brooch that was scooped up for just $8 at an Ohio garage sale five years ago delivered a $26,250 windfall at Bonhams New York on Tuesday.Read More
Rio Tinto's Argyle Mine in Western Australia — the world's most prolific diamond mine and primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds — is nearly tapped out. The mine is expected to cease operations in 2021 after a 38-year run that has produced more than 800 million carats of rough diamonds.Read More
In 1926, at the age of 53, American tycoon Harrison Williams married Mona Bush, a divorcée 24 years his junior. Aboard his 250-foot yacht, the Warrior, the couple departed on a year-long, around-the-world honeymoon, and during a stopover in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), the wealthiest man in America picked up a beautiful cornflower blue bauble for his new bride.Read More
'Fight of the Century' Victor Floyd Mayweather Jr. Earns 'Priceless' Money Belt Encrusted With 4,260 Gems
When professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated UFC star Conor McGregor by TKO Saturday night in what was billed as "the fight of the century," the undefeated Mayweather earned a $100 million-plus payday and a Money Belt glistening with 4,260 gemstones. It is believed to be the most valuable sports trophy ever created.Read More
Despite being tempted by a retail environment flush with fast fashion and unlimited choices, millennial women would prefer to adhere to the maxim of "buy less, buy better." According to a survey conducted on behalf of the Diamond Producers Association, the vast majority of millennial women prefer "the real deal" when purchasing diamonds and luxury items.Read More
Model Ksenia Tsaritsina's fairytale wedding to Russian billionaire Aleksey Shapovalov included a "suspended" eight-tear cake, illuminated dance floor, two bridal dresses, live pop-star entertainment and a 70-carat Asscher-cut diamond ring valued at $10.5 million.Read More
Fourteen months ago, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewelers of America (JA) announced that spinel — the great imposter — would be joining peridot as an official birthstone for the month of August. It was only the third time in the past 105 years that the modern birthstone list had been amended.
The industry associations noted at the time that they were responding to a strong call from gem enthusiasts to expand the list of official birthstones. The spinel was designated for August because of its historical significance and its rich, red color.
Spinel has been called “the great impostor of gemstone history” because some of the most famous “rubies” seen in crown jewels around the world are actually spinels. According to the Smithsonian, it wasn't until 1783 that spinel was recognized as a mineral distinct from corundum (ruby and sapphire). Ruby is composed of aluminum oxide, while spinel is made of magnesium aluminum oxide. Both get their reddish color from impurities of chromium in their chemical structure.
For centuries, royal jewelry "experts" could not tell the difference between a ruby and a spinel.
For instance, the 398-carat ruby-red gem that tops the Imperial Crown of Russia commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1763 was thought to be a ruby, but turned out to be a spinel. The 361-carat Timur Ruby, which was presented by the East India Company to Queen Victoria as a gift in 1851, was also later identified as a spinel. And the 170-carat Black Prince Ruby, which is prominently displayed on the Imperial State Crown of England, was, in fact, an uncut spinel.
While spinel is best known for its ability to imitate the color of ruby, the gem comes in a variety of vibrant colors, including soft pastel shades of pink and purple, fiery oranges, and cool hues ranging from powdery gray to intense blue. It is a durable gem with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs scale. By comparison, diamond rates a 10 and ruby rates a 9.
Shown in the image, above, are three spinels from the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The first and third gem were sourced in Sri Lanka and weigh 22.2 and 29.7 carats, respectively. The spinel in the center is from Myanmar and weighs 36.1 carats.
The bracelet shown here contains 98 natural spinel crystals set in a double row in yellow gold. The stones were sourced in the Mogok region of Myanmar and the piece is currently part of the National Gem and Mineral Collection.
Myanmar is known to produce some of the most beautiful spinels — especially the pink, red and orange-red varieties. Spinels are also mined in Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Kenya, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
Credits: Gem photo by D. Penland/Smithsonian. Bracelet photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.