News & Views form Gem World

Star of Charlize: Actress Charlize Theron, the first African to win an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "Monster", will now have a semi-precious stone named for her. The stone is a newly-discovered variety of amazonite with a quartz grain, which was found at a mine in Chalaua in Mozambique. The stone, once cut and polished, will be an aquamarine-turquoise color with fine gray-blue stripes. The stone will be named "Star of Charlize" and made into jewelry and presented to Theron.

First gemstones book: One of the first gemstone books in English was written by Thomas Nicholas as long ago as 1652. The book was named “A Lapidary; the history of precious stones” and published by Cambridge University Press.

Deep Blue Jade: Miners have uncovered a sizable deposit of deep blue jade in the Motagua Valley of Guatemala, home to the historic jade deposits of the ancient Mayan Civilization. The deposits were re-discovered in the mid-90s, but thus far have produced mostly green to green-blue colors. Small amounts of dark blue-green jade were discovered in 1999 and lighter blue-green material in 2000, but this is the first blue jade in the history of the world.

Rare Blue Beryl: True North Gems Inc., a Canadian public company engaged in the exploration and development of North American gemstone deposits, has confirmed the discovery of blue gemstones believed to be a rare deposit of blue beryl. The discovery of "a transparent gemstone the colour of blue velvet is so rare that it may have only been found once before, in Brazil." It is currently being classified by gem experts to determine if they are a completely new classification of gemstone or the world's second occurrence of deep blue beryl.

Bush Bans Burmese Goods: On July 28, 2003, President Bush signed The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, a bill closing the U.S. market to imports from Burma (Myanmar). The bill was proposed and passed in response to the arrest and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The law imposes sanctions for three years on the Myanmar government, including freezing assets in the United States, suspending or rejecting visa, and banning the importation of Burmese products. While the textile industry was singled out for condemnation, specifically for labor abuses, the law will also affect the importation of Burmese ruby, sapphire, jade, and spinel. The bill passed in the House of Representatives by a majority of 418-2, and in the Senate by 97-1.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s Christie’s and Sotheby’s are the two major auction houses in the world, dealing in gemstones and jewelry. Though they also deal in ancient arts and crafts, paintings, watches and clocks, books and manuscripts, collectibles and memorabilia, and much more; gemstones and jewelry constitute their major interest and sales. Between them, they hold almost all the world record prices for almost every gemstone, including diamonds, rubies, emeralds and cultured pearls and jewelry.

Christie’s: Christie's commitment to excellence began in the auction house's early years when James Christie conducted his first sale on 5 December 1766. A levelheaded businessman famed for his eloquence and humor, Christie turned auctioneering into a sophisticated art. Christie conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th and 19th centuries. At present Christie's, the world market leader in jewelry with an average of $230 million of annual sales worldwide, holds its major jewelry sales in Geneva, Hong Kong, London, New York and Paris. Auctions present modern and period jewels, signed and unsigned, and a variety of precious stones.

Sotheby’s:On March 11, 1744, Samuel Baker, founder of Sotheby's, held the first-ever sale under his own name. It contained several hundred scarce and valuable books in all branches of Polite Literature, from the library of a certain Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley, and it was sold for a few hundred pounds. Well over two centuries later, on December 6, 1983, Sotheby's sold a single book, The Gospels of Henry the Lion, for more than 8 million pounds. Since those early days, it is not just prices that have grown considerably. So too have the scope and scale of Sotheby's itself. It has only been in the last century, after all, that the original London Company has expanded from book auctions to cover all areas of the fine and decorative arts. This great expansion means that Sotheby's is not just one of the oldest fine art auctioneers in the world, but also now the largest. There are more than 100 Sotheby's offices around the world; and, in 1998, auction sales produced a turnover of just under $2 billion.

Tanzanite-The Trichroic Gemstone:Tanzanite was discovered 25 miles south of the dusty frontier town of Arusha, Tanzania, in 1967. A tailor cum prospector named Manuel D'Souza staked the first claim. Two years later, a Masai warrior brought a 10,000-carat chunk of transparent, purplish-blue material to Navrottoni Pattni at his office in Nairobi. Pattni, Kenya's first gem cutter, thinking that anything that big had to be glass, dismissed the Masai without purchasing the material. As subsequent events would prove, Pattni had turned away an entirely new gem material. It was eventually named tanzanite by Henry Platt, then vice president of Tiffany & Co., in honor of the East African country where it was first discovered. Pattni speculates that the piece he was offered could have been cut into a gem in excess of the 220-carat beauty currently in the collection of the Smith-sonian. Pattni was offered the stone for $50. Such are the wages of hesitation.

Tanzanite is the gem variety of the mineral zoisite. Tanzanite is a trichroic gemstone, meaning that it exhibits one of three colors depending on which way the crystal is viewed: blue, amethystine to red, and green-yellow to brown.

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