Gemstone Spotlight

Showcasing the story, beauty and heritage of gemstones.


Cortez Pearl

Cortez Pearls: The World's First Black Pearl

Mexican Magnificence! When you think of Mexico, what comes to mind? How about naturally black pearls?

That's right. From 1500 to 1800 pearls were as much associated with Mexico as pottery is today. In fact, Mexico was the world's only source of black pearls-most from the Sea of Cortez, the 700-mile long inlet that separates Mexico's mainland from its California peninsula. Now, off the Sea of Cortez's cactus-dotted, rugged desert shoreline, Mexico is producing pearls that rival the best in the world.

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Nyala Ruby

Nyala Ruby & Sapphire: The Gem of Passion

Chimwadzulu Hill in Malawi, you can see the sunrise over the Great Rift Valley, the seam in the earth's skin that stretches almost 5000 kilometers north of here to end in the Dead Sea and the Jordan River valley in Syria.

In a few million years, this hill will be on Africa's eastern coast, as the eastern side of the rift moves off to create a great island in the Indian Ocean.The Great Rift Valley, mankind's cradle, is also the birthplace of an amazing number of gemstones, colorful crystals of minerals brought to the earth's surface through the grinding of the two continental plates that meet here.

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Tashmarine: Gem of the Silk Road

A gem miner's life, the grown-up version of a treasure hunt, is by nature a gamble.

But your first look at this particular mine may make you question the sanity of the six men who come each year to this way-station on the ancient Silk Road in search of Tashmarine®, the first major gem find of this century. Not that a look at the mine is a casual thing. It takes days to reach this remote corner of Xinjiang province in China. Kazakhstan lies directly to the west, the Taklamagan desert to the south.

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