Set of Four Trapiche Emeralds
Lot 1335
Set of Four Trapiche Emeralds
Sold for US$ 6,250 inc. premium
Auction Details
Natural History Los Angeles
11 Dec 2011 13:00 PST

Auction 19429
Lot Details
Set of Four Trapiche Emeralds
Coscuez, La Peña Blancas Muzo Mining District, Colombia
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 suite is rare in that all four cabochons may have come from the same larger crystal or, at the very least, were cut as cabochons at the same time as they are so closely matched in the saturation of their vivid green color. Each has a complete well-formed spoke pattern and displays the rich color for which the Muzo Mines have been famed. This fine suite would create an excellent pair of cufflinks.
Weighing a total of 12.27 carats (weighing 2.18 cts, 3.18 cts, 3.28 cts, 3.61cts respectively) and each measuring approximately 10.0 x 8.0mm
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    Auction Administration - Natural History
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