Largest Blue HPHT Synthetic Diamond in GIA Lab

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

The largest faceted colorless HPHT-grown synthetic diamond reported to date is a 10.02 ct E-color, VS1-clarity specimen, cut from a 32.26-carat piece of rough, was reported by IGI Hong Kong in 2015. The diamond was grown by NDT, or New Diamond Technology, is one of the founding members of the new International Grown Diamond Association. Recently, large colorless and near-colorless HPHT-grown diamonds by the Russian company have been investigated by GIA laboratories. The sizes ranged up to up to 5.11 ct. In January 2016, GIA’s New York laboratory examined a 5.03 ct fancy-color HPHT-grown type IIb synthetic diamond produced by NDT. this is the largest faceted blue laboratory-grown diamond studied so far. 

The notes from GIA's lab report stated that the 5.03-carat diamond exhibited a number of traits characteristic of diamonds grown using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process, including color zoning and a cuboctahedral growth pattern. The stone was graded a VS1, fancy deep blue. 

"This emerald-cut synthetic diamond was color graded as Fancy Deep blue. This is a very attractive color with no other color component, a prized rarity among natural type IIb diamonds (the Blue Moon, for instance, was graded as Fancy Vivid blue). When viewed under a microscope, faint but sharp color zoning could be seen, indicative of the uneven impurity incorporation of HPHT synthetic diamonds. No strain was observed under crossed polarizers, indicating a very low dislocation density, which is also characteristic of HPHT-grown diamonds. It had VS1 clarity, with only very small metallic inclusions and a cavity observed at the girdle. Fluorescence and phosphorescence images collected using a DiamondView instrument revealed the sample’s cuboctahedral growth pattern, another feature of HPHT synthetics. The long-lasting chalky blue phosphorescence was further analyzed using spectroscopy, and the emission was found to originate from two broad bands centered at approximately 500 and 575 nm (figure 2, right). These bands have previously been reported in NDT’s type IIa and IIb HPHT synthetic diamonds (D’Haenens-Johansson et al., 2015). "

The evaluation of a lab-grown blue diamond of this size is considered by the researchers to be so significant that they opted to publish Lab Notes online ahead of the next quarterly edition of Gems & Gemology.  

To read Lab Notes GIA.edu

Buyer's Beware: Fake Pink Sapphire Discovered after 16 Years

pinksapphirefake

Recently a truly buyer beware story has come out of Delaware where a woman has found out she’d been showing off a fake on her finger for the last 16 years. An expert deemed the pink sapphire in the ring her husband had bought for her birthday was worth only $30, instead of the $12,500 the couple thought.
They couple are now suing the jeweler who sold the diamond-and-sapphire ring to the husband in 1999. They are claiming the husband paid $9,000 just for the stone alone, yet it's value would have been allegedly only $10 according at that time, according to The News Journal.
“I was extremely proud of that ring,” the woman said. “I wore it a lot and got an awful lot of compliments. And all these years, I was wearing that fake. I feel like a fool showing off that ring. I can’t get that out of my head. Here all that excitement and Sam spent all that money, and it’s a fake.”
The husband has sued the business and its owners, seeking $37,000 to replace the ring, plus another $2,500 that he paid in insurance over 15 years. The jewelers had offered to replace the stone, but the woman said she didn’t want another sapphire from them.
The lawsuit in Delaware Court of Common Pleas alleges the business owners engaged in deceptive trade practices and breached their contract to sell a natural pink sapphire.
The jewelers responded to the lawsuit saying the couple’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and that the owners extended no warranties to the man when he bought the ring. They say the claim is because of wrongdoing by a Pennsylvania appraiser, and have filed a third-party lawsuit against that company.

This is yet another illustration of the importance of finding and consulting a qualified gemologist-jewelry appraiser at the time of purchase. If you have doubts or are considering a major gemstone purchase please consider a second opinion from a non-biased third party who is an expert in the field of gemstone identification! Take the "beware" out of buyer beware and purchase with confidence. 
You can find qualified gemologist-jewelry appraisers through national organizations such as NAJA.

 

Kathleen Marino MA, GG, AJP, NAJA

Excavation Reveals a 2,000-year-old Natural Pearl Found in Australia

Australian scientists said Wednesday that they have uncovered a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural sea pearl while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site. The pearl is the first found on the continent. 

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Kat Szabo, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong said that archaeologists came across the pearl while excavating the site on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia.

"Natural pearls are very rare in nature and we certainly -- despite many, many (oyster) shell middens being found in Australia -- we've never found a natural pearl before," Szabo, who specialises in studying shells at archaeological sites, told AFP.

The discovery's location is particularily significant because "the Kimberley coast of Australia is synonymous with pearling, and has been for the better part of the last century, " says Szabo 

The pink-and-gold-coloured pearl is almost completely spherical, and measures five-millimeters in  diameter. Because the pearl was nearly perfect round researchers were able to use a micro CT scan to test its age as well as prove that is was naturally occurring rather than a modern cultured pearl.

Pearl producing oysters have been used in rainmaking ceremonies in indigenous cultures, and their shells have been found in the central desert more than 930 miles away. Archaeologists have known about the rainmaking rituals but were not aware of how far back in history they had been practiced until now.

"Studying the pearl has led us to the study of the layer in which it's found," Szabo said.

"In indigenous terms, that's telling a really interesting story about a cultural tradition to do with pearl shells which we knew historically but we've never been able to prove that it went back into the past." 

The pearl is set to go on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Perth later this month, with details of the find published in the Australian Archaeology journal.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

 

Doyle's New York to Hold Auction in LA

Continuing the westward move of auction houses Doyle will hold its Inaugural West Coast Auction in Beverly Hills on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10am. These important sales address an entire demographic that has been ignored in the past by the established Eastern houses. 
The sale of Fine Jewelry will feature exquisite designs by such prestigious makers as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. Comprising over 250 lots, the sale showcases jewelry set with diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls, as well as gold jewelry, fine watches and gentlemen's accessories.
One star of the show will be the dazzling collection of jewelry once owned by film star Mae West, comprising a circa 1950 platinum and diamond bracelet-watch by Fred and a platinum, moonstone and diamond ring.

'Sunrise Ruby' Steals the Show at Sotheby's Auction

sunrise

The “Sunrise Ruby,” a 25.59-carat untreated pigeon’s blood red-colored stone set a new world auction record for price paid for a ruby on Tuesday at the Sotheby's Geneva sale. The ruby was initially estimated to sell at between $12-$18 million but bidding soared to $30.3 million, demolishing the existing ruby auction record that was held by the $8.6 million sale of the “Graff Ruby.” The ring also set a record for the price paid for a jewel by Cartier. It was sold to an million to an anonymous buyer.
The high price of the ruby heavily contributed to the Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction which the highest-ever total for any jewelry auction at $160.9 million, deposing the Christie’s November 2014 sale of Magnificent Jewels in Geneva, which totaled $150.2 million.

Also performing well but not meeting pre-sale expectations was the “Historic Pink." The 8.72-carat fancy vivid pink diamond sold for $15.9 million, below its pre-sale high estimate of $18 million.
David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division had this to say about the sale: 
“(The) record result is the reflection of outstanding quality of the pieces in the sale across the board,...The galleries have been brimming with collectors during our worldwide exhibitions, and this translated into lively bidding throughout the sale … with truly global demand for the finest diamonds, gemstones and signed pieces of the very highest order.”

The entirety of the auction results can be viewed at Sotheby's 

Alert from GIA Lab

diamonds

The Gemological Institute of America has cut off four clients traced to hundreds of diamonds submitted with an undisclosed treatment that improves their color by as much as three grades but fades over time. 

On May 12, 2015 GIA Laboratory sent out notifications about the still-unidentified temporary treatment Tuesday and is asking anyone in the trade with these 424 potentially treated stones to turn them back into the GIA for reexamination. According to the National Jeweler approximately 76 of the 500 already have been reexamined by the GIA.)  The majority of the stones are 1 carat or larger. 

GIA has confirmed that they have terminated the client agreements of the companies linked to the stones. GIA spokesman Stephen Morisseau said the lab “reasonably suspects” that the companies knew the diamonds were treated and did not disclose it.  

The companies are listed online as: E.G.S.D Diamonds Ltd., L.Y.E Diamonds Ltd., Abramov Romok and Yair Matatov.

 The GIA also said it notified the diamond bourses. In a statement issued Wednesday, the Israel Diamond Exchange said it called an emergency meeting of its board of directors upon hearing the news and has “resolved to identify the suspects” and act immediately to “take the needed measures.” 
The lab became aware of this potentially new color treatment when a client purchased one of these diamonds and the treatment began to wear off, leaving him with a diamond that had a much lower color grade than what he had paid for. He returned the stone to GIA for reexamination. It was then that the GIA discovered the treatment and the stone was connected with hundreds of others that had been submitted by the four companies. 
GIA hasn’t drawn any solid conclusions yet, Morisseau said they “reasonably believe” that all of the approximately 500 stones have been treated, but cannot definitively say anything until the lab reexamines them. 
Morisseau said the GIA has not yet identified the treatment but are “actively researching it.” He added that they are monitoring other GIA labs worldwide for similar submissions. 

You may view the list of recalled diamonds here.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Sotheby's to Auction a Historic Pink Diamond

Historic pink

A fancy vivid pink diamond that is believed to have been part of the collection of Napoleon Bonaparte’s niece, Princess Mathilde, could fetch up to $18 million when it hits Sotheby’s auction block next month.
Dubbed the “Historic Pink Diamond,” the diamond is an 8.72-carat stone, VS2 clarity and is a non-modified cushion cut; unusual for a pink diamond.

Scheduled for May 12 Sotheby’s auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, in Geneva.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Botswana mine yields 342-carat diamond

LucaraDiamond

Lucara Diamond Corp. announced this week the discovery of a 341.9-carat gem-quality diamond at its Karowe Mine in Botswana, the same mine that yielded two 200-carat-plus pieces of rough last year. 
The diamond is a Type IIa that shows “exceptional color and clarity”. It will be sold along with two other big pieces of rough, both of which are more than 100 carats. The sale date has yet to be determined.
The diamond was found while processing fragmental kimberlite from the central and south lobe interface of the mine, which is proving, somewhat surprisingly, to be a prolific source of high-quality, large rough diamonds.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

The “Ultimate Emerald-cut Eiamond" Fetches More than $22 million

Ultimate Emerald Cut

An anonymous buyer who called in their bid became the owner of one impressive diamonds, a 100.2-carat, internally flawless, D color Type IIa diamond. The diamond sold for $22.1 million at Sotheby’s New York jewelry sale on April 21, falling slightly short of its highest pre-sale estimate, $25 million.
The hundred-carat stunner led Tuesday’s Magnificent Jewels sale and was one-third of the auction’s $65.1 million total, a new record for Sotheby’s in New York.
According to Sotheby’s, the stone is the largest “perfect” diamond with a classic emerald cut ever sold at auction and the first 100-carat-plus perfect diamond sold at an auction held in New York. The $22 million paid for it is a record for a colorless diamond auctioned in New York.

ultimate

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Exceptional 63.05-carat Diamond Found

Lucapa Diamond Company recovered an “exceptional” 63.05-carat, Type IIa diamond from its alluvial mining operations at the Lulo Diamond Concession in Angola. It is the biggest diamond recovered since Lucapa started commercial mining operations at the site in January and the company’s third-largest stone unearthed at Lulo, behind 131.40-carat and 95.45-carat stones (both of which also were Type IIa).

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Angola diamond

The “Kimberley Purple"

kimberlypurple

The “Kimberley Purple,” a 30.80-carat rough diamond found in Batla Minerals’ Superkolong diamond tailings plant in Kimberley, South Africa, is on view in New York until April 23, when it will be moved to Antwerp for tender. 
A viewing can be arranged by emailing appts@fusionalternatives.com. Additional information on the tender can be found on the Fusion Alternatives website. 

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

AGTA Spectrum Awards 2015

The 2015 AGTA Spectrum award winners were announced. The categories cover everything from objects of art, faceted stones, carved stones, and jewelry for every occasion you can think of. 
Here is just a taste of the entries that I thought were truly spectacular. 

1st Place Cut Stones: Phenomenal category, Robert Shapiro Madison, WI
Natural split pair of boulder Opals (60.50 ctw.).

Editors' Choice: Evening Wear Gregore Joailliers Santa Barbara, CA
18K white gold "Sometime This Spring"
earrings featuring Mexican fire Opals (68.88 ctw.) accented with round Diamonds (2.19 ctw.).

Honorable Mention: Men's Wear William Travis Jewelry Chapel Hill, NC
18K yellow gold and sterling silver ring featuring a 13.17 ct. Citrine.

    
1st Place Carving Naomi Sarna Designs New York, NY
"Rose de France" Amethyst carving (1015 ctw.).

    
2nd Place Evening Wear Erica Courtney, Inc.  Los Angeles, CA
18K yellow gold "Milky Way" earrings featuring Opal drops
(46.06 ctw.) accented with Diamonds (1.98 ctw.) and Paraiba Tourmalines (2.03 ctw.).