$83 million for one diamond
In Geneva, the world’s largest pink-coloured diamond was auctioned off for a record price. An anonymous buyer purchased the one-of-a-kind “Pink Star” gemstone for $83 million (£52 million).
The diamond is a superlative: it is the hardest known mineral, possesses the highest light refraction properties and represents eternity. In mythology the diamond was considered the saviour from demonic influences and represented justice and virtue. The diamond comes in a variety of cuts such as pear-cut, facet cut, oval cut and also heart cut. The most well-known cut is without a doubt the brilliant cut. Colour: colourless, yellow, brown, black, bluish, greenish, reddish Found predominantly in Africa and Siberia.
The quality of diamonds is judged according to the 4 Cs: colour, clarity, cut and carat (weight).
The ruby is named after the Latin term for red, which is “rubeus.” In Sanskrit the ruby is called “ratnarai,” which means “the king of the precious stones.”
It is one of the most valuable stones. The most beautiful colour of ruby is called dove’s blood red. In old European cultures and in India, the ruby was considered to be the stone of the sun. It represented vitality, internal fire, love and passion. It was said to become darker in colour in the event of imminent disaster.
Found in Myanmar (Thailand, Sri Lanka and Tanzania).
The name sapphire comes from the Greek term “sappheiros” – the meaning remains unclear.
The sapphire is one of the most popular jewels. The so-called cornflower blue sapphire is particularly coveted.
However, the orange – yellow variation known as the Padparadscha sapphire is highly treasured. Its name comes from Singhalese and means “lotus flower.”
The most beautiful orange coloured stones are found in Sri Lanka.
The sapphire (from Sanskrit: sani=Saturn) was considered to be the stone of Saturn in old European cultures and in India. It represents heaven, magic, loyalty and friendship.
Colourless, pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, black
Found primarily in: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar
The name emerald, lesser known as smaragd, comes from the Greek term “smaragdos” meaning green stone.
Most emeralds contain inclusions. Clear stones of a deep, rich green colour are very rare and are often considered to be more expensive than the diamond.
In old European cultures and in India, the emerald was attributed to the god Mercury, the messenger of the gods and the god of journeys, of sleep and of dreams, and was thus considered to be the stone for divine inspiration.
The most important finds have been in South America (Columbia).
The aquamarine owes its name to the Latin terms “Aqua” and “mare,”- water of the ocean - thanks to its ocean blue colour.
The most prized variety is the deep blue aquamarine, also known as “Santa Maria, named after the Santa Maria mine in Brazil.
According to old lore, the aquamarine is the stone of the visionaries, mystics and healers.
The aquamarine brings light and clarity into the hidden corners of the soul.
The most important finds have been made in Brazil and d Madagascar.
Colour: dark blue, light blue, blue-green.
The beryl’s name is derived from the Greek term “beryllos” – the meaning is not completely clear.
In ancient times, the colourless beryl was used to create eyeglasses.
Since those times, the beryl has been considered a purifying crystal that strengthens the eyes.
Colour: golden yellow, yellow-green, yellow, pink, colourless
The name means “the grain” and stems from the Latin word “granum.”
The garnet comes in many different colours. The colour red is the most common.
In the vernacular, a garnet refers to the red almandine and the pyrope, also known previously as carbuncle.
There are however many other garnets, such as the rhodolite (red) and the spessartite , often also referred to as the mandarin garnet, which ranges from orange to red-brown in colour.
The garnet is considered to be a stone that brightens the soul and brings light and hope.
Colour: green, yellow, orange, red, brown.
The garnet has been found on nearly all continents, although primarily in the USA and Africa.
There is no precious stone that has such a rich colour spectrum as the tourmaline. Although already known in ancient times and in the Middle Ages, it was first brought from Ceylon to Europe by the Dutch in 1703.
It is a symbol of wisdom and is said to strengthen friendship.
According to Arabic lore, the tourmaline is the stone of the sun, which strengthens the heart and protects against nightmares.
Colour: colourless, pink, red, yellow, brown, green, blue, purple, black, multi-coloured, all colours of the rainbow.
Rubellite: The rubellite is an extremely high quality variety of the tourmaline. It is found in a colour range from pink to deep red.
The tourmaline is found nearly all over the world.
The most important deposits are in Brazil, Sri Lanka and southwest Africa.
The tanzanite owes its name to the country Tanzania in Africa, where it was discovered for the first time in 1967. In the case of good quality stones, the colour ranges from ultramarine to sapphire blue. In artificial light the tanzanite displays more of a purple colour. The fact that it sometimes displays two colour tones makes it particularly intriguing.
The name, derived from the Greek term “amethystos,” means “to prevent intoxication.” The amethyst was considered to be an amulet to protect against drunkenness and was said to possess supernatural powers. It is a good luck charm, bestows stability, protects against magic and prevents homesickness.
Colour: purple, blue-red violet,
Found in Brazil, Madagascar, southwest Africa, South America, Sri Lanka, and the USA.
This stone got its name from its shimmer that is reminiscent of moonlight.
The moonstone is unique primarily due to its blue-white shimmer that covers its entire surface develops when the stone is moved.
It was previously thought that one could recognise the waxing and waning of the moon in the moonstone. It was considered a lucky stone in Europe, the Far East and the Orient and was used for casting love spells.
Colours: colourless, white, brownish, greenish, reddish and bluish with a light or bluish shimmer.
The main finds have been in Sri Lanka and India.
The creation of the pearl has shrouded in legend for a very long time.
Legend had it that the oyster was fertilised by a raindrop or dewdrop.
The pearl is a jewel of nature. Pearls are a product of bivalves. In many cultures, the pearl has a symbolic character. In this way, pearls stand for wealth, wisdom and dignity in China, while they represent happiness in Japan and an abundance of children in India.
Moreover, the pearl was considered both an aphrodisiac and a remedy for melancholy and madness. It is also a symbol for tears. The Indian heroic epic Mahabharata, the Old Testament, the Talmud and the Koran praise the pearl for its ultimate beauty and perfect purity. In the Middle Ages, the pearl took on a sacred characteristic. It was considered a symbol of the love for God. In China, pearl oysters were fished for in rivers and along the southern ocean coasts many thousands of years before Christ. By the beginning of the 20th century, people began to dive for pearls. Covered in linen cloths with their noses held closed by a clip, these divers sprang into the open ocean and sank to the ocean floor with the help of weights.
Still today, the Chinese are the leaders in freshwater pearl cultivation. However, they were not able to cultivate completely round pearls. The Japanese began this process at the beginning of the last century, succeeding in creating the completely round Akoya pearl from the Akoya oyster. This pearl has remained extremely popular to this day.
Only pearls that have been created naturally, not cultivated, may be called real pearls or natural pearls. Occasionally they are also referred to as oriental pearls.
Akoya-cultured pearls Cultured
Pearls cultivated in the Japanese Sea. Akoya cultured pearls are usually between two to nine millimetres in diameter.
South Sea cultured pearls
The South Sea pearl is between 10 to 20 mm in diameter, sometimes even larger. Its mother of pearl surface is thicker than the surface of the Akoya pearl. It is also referred to as the queen of the cultured pearls.
Tahitian cultured pearls
Found in French Polynesia, the Tahitian pearl comes from the black lipped pearl oyster. Its colour ranges from anthracite to black.
Freshwater cultured pearls
They are raised in lakes or small rivers. In contrast to saltwater pearls, these usually do not have an implanted mother of pearl bead. Most freshwater pearls come from China.
Irregularly shaped pearls.
Mabe cultured pearls
These are half pearls in irregular shapes such as a semi sphere, heart, squares etc.
Lustre is the most important criteria in appraising the quality of a pearl. This term refers to the refraction of light as it hits the many aragonite layers of the mother of pearl, creating a sheen that seems to originate from the inside of the pearl. Light reflection and lustre should be as strong and deep as possible, which would indicate a thick layer of mother of pearl. The more intensive the lustre is, the more valuable the pearl is considered.