Rare Trapiche Emerald Crystal
Lot 3317
Rare Trapiche Emerald Crystal
Sold for US$ 13,420 inc. premium
Auction Details
Natural History New York
17 May 2011 13:00 EDT

Auction 19371
Lot Details
Rare Trapiche Emerald Crystal
Muzo, Columbia
Coscuez, La Peña Blancas
Muzo Mining District, Columbia
Trapiche emeralds are in a class by themselves and are perhaps the rarest and most memorable of "pattern" gems—certainly the most unusual amongst the big three of emerald, ruby, and sapphire. Trapiche is the Spanish word for a spoked wheel used to grind sugar cane, which bears a striking resemblance to the pattern in these emeralds. Normally they are cut en cabochon to display the beautiful spoke-like star.

Their known locality is the famed Muzo Mine District. Their six spoke-like albite "rays" emanate from a hexagonal center with the areas in between filled with lively green emerald. These rays, which appear like asterism, are not caused by light reflections from tiny parallel inclusions (as are stars), but from white albite feldspar impurities that happen to form in the same pattern.

The earliest reference of trapiche emerald was in an 1879 French mineralogical bulletin. Since then, it has been rarely commented upon. Gemological examination shows that the trapiche is a single crystal and not a twinned specimen as was originally thought. Trapiche emeralds are valued based on a number of factors; saturation and even color, clarity, size and the most important being the definition, completeness, and centering of the "rays."

The present specimen is rare for its size, the saturation of its vivid green color, the completeness of the crystal and its well-formed spoke pattern.
Weighs approximately 51.6 carats (10.3g); Measures 1 x 1 x ½ in


  • See also lots 3423, 3427, and 3428 for examples of trapiche emeralds mounted in jewelry.
  1. Natural History (US)
    General Enquiries
    Work +1 323 436 5437
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843
Similar items