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Lot 2052. The Green Jewel.  An exclusive 13.20 carats Columbian emerald and pink diamond ring. Estimate HKD 6,400,000 - HKD 9,500,000 (USD US$800,000-1,200,000)© Christie's Images Ltd 2017

Set with a cushion-shaped emerald, weighing approximately 13.20 carats, to the pear and circular-cut pink diamond gallery with heart-shaped pink diamond floret detail, mounted in platinum and gold, ring size 5 ¾ 

Please note that the coloured diamonds have not been tested for natural colour

Accompanied by report no. 90357 dated 8 March 2017 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the emerald is of Colombia origin, with no indications of clarity modification in fissures at the time of testing; also accompanied by an appendix stating that the natural emerald possesses exceptional characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. The emerald characterized by an attractive and saturated green colour combined with a very fine purity. The small inclusions found by microscopic examination represent the hallmarks of Colombian emeralds from the famous mining areas Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor, all located in the green foothills of the Cordillera Oriental in the Colombian Andes. Its saturated green colour is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements, which are typical and characteristic for the finest emeralds of Colombia. A natural emerald from Colombia of this size and quality is rare and exceptional

Report no. 16110204 dated 2 December 2016 from the Gübelin GemLab stating that the emerald is of Colombia origin, with no indications of clarity enhancement 

Report no. CS 1077215 dated 8 September 2016 from the AGL American Gemological Laboratories stating that the emerald is of Colombia origin, with no clarity enhancement

The Green Jewel. 

The sultry, tropical, South American country of Colombia has long been the preeminent producer of gem-quality emeralds. As one of the world’s most valuable gemstones, emeralds cement itself as the top three most coveted coloured stones, along with rubies and sapphires. Its vibrant green hues have captivated Pharaohs to Spanish and Portuguese Conquistadors, European nobility and Maharajas.

Inspiring exquisite pieces of top quality jewellery, Colombian emeralds prevail in dominance with its unprecedented colour, fire and intensity. Today, Colombian emeralds still reign supreme among knowledgeable connoisseurs and collectors. Prized for their transparency, superior crystal structure and fire, the rarest and most expensive emeralds in the world come from the three main Colombian mining areas of Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor; Muzo being the most fabled of the world’s great heritage gemstone mines. Hidden away, high up, in rugged, sacred land, the Muzo mine was, and is still today, veined with emeralds of mesmerizing light-filled beauty, emeralds revered and worshipped by Aztecs, Incas, Muiscas, for hundreds, even thousands of years for its intoxicating vibrant greens. 

The Muzo mines lie some 60 miles north-west of Bogotá in a far-flung corner of Boyacá state in the high Andes Mountains, accessible only by a day-long drive in a 4x4 along a mountain road. The path weaves its way from high cold altitudes among sheer cliffs in the clouds, finally dropping down through the semitropical jungle to humid warm valleys where the gems are hidden. As though Mother Nature wanted to dissuade mankind from venturing into this green triangle, it seems the emeralds of Muzo– coveted all around the world – need to be earned. At present the mines comprise five galleries that plunge as deep as 1,300 feet into the bowels of the Earth. Local populations traditionally lacked the tools to dig into the rock. Early miners would chip away at the surface with an adze or wait for rain to wash over the mountain and expose the calcite veins that held the emeralds.

The majority of these exceptional gemstones emerged from a black, sooty, carbonaceous shale that constitutes the primary host rock; rich in chromium and vanadium, the cause of emerald’s intense green colour, these chemicals contributes to the gemstone’s unique visual appeal. However, it has been suggested that the presence of high levels of chromium and vanadium in combination with diminished amounts of iron in emerald’s atomic structure cause internal crystallographic stress resulting in fractures that characteristically lower the clarity of these intensely green gems. Consequently, high clarity emeralds are extremely rare and highly prized.

Presented in this lot is a 13.20 carats Colombian emerald from the infamous Muzo mines. Accompanied by an ISO 9000 certificate of origin from the MUZO group, the emerald is traceable to the original Muzo mine, with the date, place and time of extraction and the shape, weight of each crystal. The certificate also provides details of the rough and the final carved state of the emerald and indicates whether it has been treated. Appropriately named ‘The Green Jewel’, this gemstone exhibits a richly saturated, homogenous lush green colour and possesses a high clarity rarely seen in the market. Complemented by precious Argyle pink diamonds, the enchanting ring captivates and enthralls the beholder.

Argyle Pink Diamonds

Western Australia’s East Kimberly region has always been a place of discovery; its potential natural resources have lured curious explorers since the late 19th century. However, it was not until 1979, when a geologist noticed a diamond embedded in an anthill near Smoke Creek. After tracing the creek back to its source, a rich diamond studded deposit of lamproite was located. As the lease on the area was about to expire, the members of the exploration team waited anxiously and secretly lest anyone found out about the unparalleled treasure. When the time came, members of the joint venture gathered and after a tense night, the Argyle Diamond Mine was officially formed.

Argyle diamonds have since set the world ablaze with its reputation of vibrant, highly saturated pink coloured diamonds. Today, the Argyle mines produce approximately 600 million rough stones each year. However, the coveted pink diamonds represent less than 0.01% of the mine’s production. According to Argyle, the mine “supplies approximately 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, astonishingly, a whole year’s worth of production of stones over half a carat would fit in the palm of your hand. The larger rare violet diamond would barely fill a teaspoon.” Reasonably, it is due to this rarity that Argyle pink diamonds are considered extremely valuable and in many ways esteemed and luxurious gemstones.

referencesBeyond Rare: The Story of Argyle Pink Diamonds. West Perth: Argyle Pink Diamonds.

Christie's. Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels, 30 May 2017, Convention Hall