Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2015, Vol. 51, No. 1

Large and Unusual Gems

Figure 1. Noor Gems showcased afghanite from Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. Photo by Duncan Pay/GIA; courtesy of Noor Gems Japan Ltd.
The inventory of Noor Gems Japan Ltd. at the GJX show was characterized by large and unusual gems, including a fine selection of rare blue and pink gemstones: afghanite, hauynite, hemimorphite, and pezzottaite. Bright blue afghanite (figure 1), which the company has been selling for three years, was available in gem quality in the 0.3–1.5 ct range, priced at approximately $500–$700 per carat. It has been especially popular with Noor’s Japanese clientele. Afghanite is a relatively soft stone for jewelry, with a hardness 5.5 to 6, best suited for pendants and earrings. While near-colorless material can be found in Italy and Germany, the recent production of blue afghanite is from Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan.

Mehraj Uddin exhibited two large topaz of exceptional pink to red color (6.38 and 12.08 ct). As with virtually all pink topaz, he acknowledged that these fine stones were heat treated. Debuting at Noor’s GJX booth was pinkish purple copper-bearing tourmaline from Mozambique (figure 2).

“Paraíba” tourmaline from Mozambique
Figure 2. Another attraction at the Noor Gems booth was pinkish purple copper-bearing tourmaline from Mozambique, which they labeled as “Paraíba.” Photo by Duncan Pay/GIA; courtesy of Noor Gems.
For some large and exceptional gemstones, such as a 254.50 ct peridot cabochon from Pakistan, Uddin admitted they hold on to these stones for 10 or 20 years. The company is reluctant to sell them because of the difficulty in replacing such inventory. They will only sell when they feel the market is high. 

Donna Beaton is colored stones technical advisor for content strategy at GIA.