Top 10 Record Breaking Precious Stones in History
Precious stones have always been an important part of society as they can be worn as a representation of one’s social status or simply used to beautify an item. People have shown great interest in gemstones for many centuries now and it is not expected that they would lose their value anytime soon. Not all precious stones have the same value, some being more precious than others. Here is la list of 10 gemstones that broke records through their amazing features.
This jewel bears the name of the one who found it back in 1990. Shirley Strawn discovered this very precious stone in the Crater of Diamonds, which is a State Park situated in Pike County, Arkansas, US. What makes this diamond truly remarkable is the fact that it is the first one in history to receive a perfect AGS Grade of 0/0/0 after being cut to a size of 1.09 carats (220 mg) from its initial weight of 3.09 carats (620 mg). This grade is based on the gem’s color, clarity and cut and it was rightfully awarded to the extremely rare and flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond by the Gemological Institute of America.
The Olympic Games that were being held at the time is where the name of this gem comes from. It was found in 1956 at 29 feet underground in an opal field called Eight-Mile that is located in Coober Pedy, South Australia. Olympic Australis is the most valuable opal (99% gem quality) and also the largest, as it weighs a stunning 17,000 carats (3450 grams). The precious stone was calculated to be worth AUD $2.5 million back in 2005 and even though it is technically possible to cut 7,000 carats from the unprocessed gem, it was decided that it would be kept intact due to its uniqueness. The Melbourne-based office of Altmann & Cherny Ltd. is where Olympic Australis is currently stored.
8.American Golden Topaz
Not only is this impressive jewel one of the largest faceted gems but it is also the largest piece of cut yellow topaz. The raw gem weighed no less than 26 pounds but after being cut it was reduced to its current size of 22,892 carats (10.1 pounds). It also boasts 172 flat-faced cuts that beautifully reflect the light. The process of cutting this precious stone took two years and the job was done by Leon Agee. The American Golden Topaz’ origin is in Minas Gerais in Brazil. It is currently housed at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., after being donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1988.
7.Graff Pink Diamond
This diamond is one of the rarest colored diamonds ever discovered. It was back in the 1950s when the gem came into the possession of jeweler Harry Winston, who acquired it from a collector. The 24.78-carat jewel was described as a “fancy intense pink diamond” by the Gemological Institute of America. The piece is mounted on a ring, has a rectangular shape with rounded corners and it is in the top 2% of the diamonds in the world as it is classified as a Diamond Type IIa. A private collector bought the gem from Mr. Winston in the 1950s and put it up for auction in 2010. It was then, after being bought by Laurence Graff for a mind-boggling $46 million, that the diamond received the name of Graff Pink. The precious stone holds the record of the most expensive single jewel to be sold at an auction.
6.Blue Giant of the Orient
This gemstone originates form a location near Adam Peak in Sri Lanka where it was found back in 1902. It underwent cutting and polishing processes, which transformed it into the 466-carat Blue Giant of the Orient. The reason why this jewel is considered to be so impressive is that blue is one of the rarest colors when it comes to sapphires and also because at the time it became the largest faceted blue gem of its kind.
With full color saturation, an intense medium-blue color and a strong orange-red fluorescence under UV light, the precious stone was evaluated at £7,000 back in 1907. It remained in the possession of an American collector until 2004 when it was again sold, this time at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva, Switzerland. In fact, from 1907 to 2004 the location of the jewel remained unclear and because the gem did not appear under the name of Blue Giant of the Orient at the sale, there is no certain way to know for sure if it was the same jewel found back in 1902. However, the color, size and cut were similar to the ones of the Blue Giant of the Orient. It was eventually bought for $1 million by an anonymous buyer.
5.De Beers Diamond
This gemstone was one of the largest of its kind to be discovered; it weighed 428 carats before it was cut into a 234.65 carat jewel. The cushion-cut pale yellow diamond was found in the South African Kimberly mines in the year 1888. It is currently rated as the world’s eighth largest faceted diamond. After being processed it was incorporated into one of the most precious pieces of jewelry to this date –the Patiala Necklace, which was crafted for Bhupinder Singh of Patiala by the House of Cartier in 1928. The necklace consisted of 2,930 diamonds and weighed around 962.25 carats.
Twenty years later the valuable piece of jewelry seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. It reappeared afterwards in 1982 at an auction at Sotheby’s in Geneva. Part of the necklace was discovered later, in 1998, in a second-hand jewelry store in London but the De Beers Diamond was gone and so were many other gems of the piece. Today, the gem is considered to be the largest missing diamond in the world.
The 65.08-carat jewel was discovered in Sri Lanka and has red and green hues, much like most gemstones of its kind. Whether it is the largest alexandrite stone in the world remains unclear (in 2011 the Naleem Alexandrite was suggested to weigh an unconfirmed 112 carats and later it was written that a Japanese owner was the possessor of a 141.92-carat alexandrite gem) but what is certain is that it is one of the most precious stones in the world. The gem that belongs to the Japanese private owner appeared on the website of Guinness World Records as the largest cut alexandrite and is evaluated at more than $100 million. Until any of these rumors are confirmed, the Smithsonian Alexandrite remains the most valuable alexandrite gem in the world.
3.Golden Jubilee Diamond
The beauty of this stone was not discovered until after it underwent a two-year cutting process that took place in a vibration-free underground room. From its initial weight of 755.5 carats (151 grams) the gem was cut down to 545.67 carats (109.13 grams), making it the largest cut precious stone of its kind. Before being called Golden Jubilee Diamond, the gem bared the not-so-flattering name of “Unnamed Brown”. The yellow-brown beauty was displayed in Thailand in 1994 and afterwards bought by a group of investors led by Henry Ho. The jewel is currently thought to value anywhere between $4 and $12 million and it is located in the Royal Thai Palace.
One of the rarest and most valuable kinds of rubies is considered to be the one that has a star on its surface. The phenomenon is called asterism. The rubies with an asterism that shows from both sides of the gem, or double-star rubies, are even rarer. The largest double-star ruby is the Neelanjali Ruby, which was awarded a place in the Guinness Book of World Records soon after it was discovered back in 1988. The 1,370-carat (274 gram) stone allegedly belonged to the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire and was believed to be cursed for a long period of time. That is why it was covered in impurities before it came into the possession of Indian lawyer G. Vidyaraj, who cleaned and polished it, thus revealing how stunning the gem really was.
Little is known about this precious stone; the grade, color and clarity remain unclear. However, judging by how rare double-star rubies are, the Neelanjali Ruby is estimated to be worth about $100 million.
This precious stone was found in 2001 in Bahia State, Brazil and to this day it was kept in the raw form it was discovered in. It is the world’s largest shard of emerald and weighs the equivalent of 1.9 million carats, as the crystal cylinders are still integrated into the host rock. It is generally evaluated at around $400 million, but some offered to pay as much as $900,000 for it. The gem spent two months underwater due to the damage the Katrina Hurricane caused, before it was retrieved. Afterwards, it was stolen by a gem dealer. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department eventually managed to find the enormous block of emeralds. A legal battle is still underway, as no less than eight people are claiming ownership to the jewel. Allegedly, one of them is claiming to have paid $1.3 million in diamonds for it and another to have bought it for $60,000 from Brazilian miners. The case was taken by Judge John A. Kronstadt, but what will happen to Bahia Emerald if none of the eight people who are claiming it will be proven to own it, remains a mystery.