Beryl var. Aquamarine
Cabinet, 13.6 x 3.6 x 3.0 cm
Thuong Xuan District, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam

Vietnam was, in the ancient world, a historic producer of some of the darkest blue and most valued aquamarines that made it as far as India and Europe, but today is largely forgotten by collectors of crystals at least, as a gem rough producer. Part of the problem is that so many of the good crystals simply feed into the gem rough supply chain and we never see them. Over the summer of 2020, while Vietnam was open and working, it seems like we had a chance to see more crystals after mining, and beat some of the gem buyers to the punch - and this is the largest aquamarine I was able to obtain out of several parcels purchased directly from representatives of the miners, and within days of them being mined. If we did not buy quickly, they were gone within the week, presumably to Bangkok cutters. This 267-gram crystal is complete all around, perfectly equant and symmetrical, and has stunning robust deep blue color, the likes of which you simply do not see from Pakistan or Brazil. These are the darkest blue crystals around, without being too dark! Characteristic "banding" patterns in the upper portion of the crystal confirm that this is Vietnamese, as we have seen such horizontal banding before, in previous specimens and in historic pieces (interestingly, when I was in California in the late 1990s, I saw many similar from a large stash turned up in Los Angeles, reported to be from a suitcase of gem crystals brought out by the former royal family or nobility of some sort, and taken to America as a store of value after the Vietnam War). In any case, we have not seen such a big, formidable crystal as this in a long time. 360 degrees, and imposing for shape, luster, and color all.

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