|Photo Credit: Jim DiLoreto|
Pictured Left to Right: Donor Jeff Bland, Curator Jeffrey Post, Sant Director Kirk Johnson,and Donor Jane M. Mitchell unveil the Dom Pedro Aquamarine. The largest cut-gem aquamarine in the world, the Dom Pedro is now on display in our Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals.
The story of this amazing Aquamarine Crystal is one of wonder and adventure that is straight from an Indiana Jones adventure!
In the November 1995 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, Si and Ann Frazier recounted the escapades of a record-breaking beryl crystal in "Rough Trip to Brazil: Intrigue and adventure surround the mission to spirit a giant beryl crystal out of Brazil."
From the LJJA article:
Besides having immense size, the lovely natural blue beryl was transparent and exhibited beautifully formed crystal faces, making it an exceptionally fine piece," the Fraziers share. "As luck would have it, the garimperos (the local term for these itinerant miners) dropped the specimen, and it broke into three pieces." Even then, the largest of those three pieces was still a record-breaking two feet tall and nearly 60 pounds.
In the Fraziers' exciting insiders tale, you'll learn why that unfortunate drop turned out to be rather fortunate after all, thanks to some unique gemological properties of beryl crystals, as well as the rest of the soon-to-be Dom Pedro aquamarine crystal's secretive escape from behind a bed in Brazil with renegade gem dealers Axel and Chico.
But that's just half the story...
The Fraziers continue the crystal's tale in "Fit for An Emporer," through its carver's months of "step-by-step thinking and not sleeping" to the sculpture's unveiling at the gem show in Basel as a 10,395-carat (about five pounds), nearly 14-inch-tall beauty. The Dom Pedro holds the record as the world's largest cut and polished gem aquamarine, the Fraziers share, after meeting the gem carver, seeing the sculpture themselves, and proclaiming it "beautifully gemmy . . . transparent . . . [and] clean except for one area of natural tubes near the top, as a mineral collector would orient it."
But not Bernd Munsteiner, the Dom Pedro carver and arguably the world's most famous gem artist, who chose "to orient the crystal upside down," putting its included tubes at the bottom of the sculpture, "where they lead the eye into the carving" and "add light, brightness, and movement." Munsteiner believes that "another crystal as suitable for sculpture as the Dam Pedro rough has never been available at any time, anywhere in the world."
Click through the links above for the whole story...and thank you to LJJA for digging up the archives for this great adventure!