In this Winter 2014 issue, three of our four articles focus on aspects of diamond. I was privileged to see the subject of one these papers up close: the Blue Moon diamond, prior to its exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This spectacular gem was recovered from the Cullinan mine—formerly a De Beers operation—in early 2014. As such, it’s a piece of the story told in our first two articles, which respectively survey recent changes in rough diamond distribution with the growth of the auction system and review the Argyle mine’s exclusive pink diamond tenders, held annually since 1985.
Our lead article, by GIA senior industry analyst Russell Shor, discusses the sweeping changes brought to rough diamond pricing and supply through the adoption of tenders and live auctions by leading producers. He explains that current opinion is divided: Some advocate auctions as a more accurate reflection of rough diamond market values, while others fear they encourage volatility of prices and speculation.
Our second paper, by the GIA laboratory’s John King, Dr. Jim Shigley, and Claudia Jannucci, is a very timely one. The fall of 2014 marked the 30th edition of Argyle’s pink diamond tenders, the invitation-only auctions of the mine’s most prized gems. This paper offers an insightful review of each auction to date. Over the years, GIA has been in the fortunate position to grade these premium pink to red diamonds, and this article also presents a concise survey of the color, carat weight, and cutting style of the gems offered.
Next, Dr. Eloïse Gaillou of the Paris School of Mines, Dr. Jeffrey Post of the Smithsonian Institution, and their coauthors present a rare gemological study of the 12.03 ct Blue Moon diamond. Prior to its fashioning, this Fancy Vivid blue, internally flawless diamond set a record price for a rough gem, bringing US$25.6 million in early 2014.
In our final article, Dr. Le Thi-Thu Huong from the Hanoi University of Science and her coauthors deliver a preliminary study—contrasting FTIR and Raman spectrometry—on the topic of separating natural and synthetic emeralds using vibrational spectroscopy.
In addition to these four feature articles, you’ll find our regular Lab Notes and Gem News International sections. We’ve gathered a variety of GNI contributions in the winter issue, including entries on the first non-nacreous beaded cultured pearl described so far, a new Ethiopian black opal deposit, a beryl and topaz doublet set in fine jewelry, and demantoid garnet from a new deposit in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. This last entry is coauthored by one of GIA’s new postdoctoral research associates, Dr. Aaron Palke. We’re also delighted to publish a letter from distinguished gemologist Dr. Karl Schmetzer offering comment on the summer edition’s emerald inclusion article.
As another year begins, we hope you find this issue a fitting conclusion to our 80th anniversary!