Turquoise Planet Earth
Armenia is not a widely known source of turquoise, but a recent donation to GIA’s colored stone reference collection proved that the country can produce high-quality, aesthetically pleasing stones. One of them, cleverly cut into an 84.90 ct sphere measuring 23.70 × 23.88 × 23.91 mm, bore an astonishing resemblance to planet Earth (see above). The natural brown matrix material mimicked the continents, while the greenish blue turquoise represented the oceans. Infrared spectroscopy showed that, like most gem turquoise, the specimen had been polymer impregnated, a treatment that makes the stone more durable. Additionally, no dye was detected. To accentuate its likeness to our planet, the sphere was photographed against “Musou Black,” marketed as the world’s blackest fabric and advertised to absorb 99.905% of all light. Precise placements of pinpoint lighting created various appearances of a sunlit Earth suspended in space.