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What is a Jardin?

Corporations, in their endless battles against one another, adopt various competitive strategies to defeat their opponents. Michael Porter identified two main attributes a business can manipulate in order to gain an advantage: Cost and Differentiation. While most people can understand why a low cost product is desirable to consumers, a commodity with differentiation is a uniquely desirable good consumers can purchase nowhere else.

Something truly different.

In the market of gemstones, an Emerald naturally possesses this attribute of differentiation. My first professional life dealt with real estate, so I sometimes think of gemstones as houses for light to live in. An Emerald is a warm, inviting home unlike any other, because an Emerald works with light in distinct and spectacular ways. An Emerald is known for this quality of light.

At arm's length, the inclusions in this Emerald Cut break up, diffuse

and soften the light return, creating a velvety texture to the perceived color.

Imagine a remote cabin on the side of a mountain with a great room inside which is topped by tall cathedral ceilings filled with huge windows looking out for miles from the side of a mountain. Now imagine the middle of an afternoon in July, with the bright sun beaming down from every angle directly through those windows. This is the power of brilliance in diamond.

Now imagine those large windows are replaced with red stained glass, with a few panels of purple and orange thrown in as accent colors. In these new surroundings, even bright summer light spills thick. A diamond screams with blinding intensity, while the glow of an Emerald speaks in a dull roar all around you. You can clearly see any dust hanging in the scarlet air or a well-formed spider-web drifting on a burgundy current.

In his comprehensive study of everything, Roman author Pliny the Elder spoke about gemstones, which he described as "Nature's grandeur gathered together within the narrowest limits, and in no domain of hers evokes more wonder in the minds of many." An Emerald provides the perfect environment to investigate the lush detail of the fascinating pocket universes contained within tiny gemstone bodies.

Emerald dealer Alfonso Acuña once prophesied, "If you look into enough Emeralds, you will begin to dream about the inner landscapes you see there. I promise you that." Señor Acuña is not just talking about looking into Emeralds, he is talking about appreciating an Emerald's jardin.

The profuse amount of material enclosed within the standard green Emerald produces a mossy appearance of diffused light. This property was dubbed the jardin or garden by French lapidaries. The inclusions in Emeralds are meant to be admired, and these artisans designed an Emerald cut so the natural features could be viewed most effectively.

Beryl is the mineral name of Emerald, but only the red and green varieties have been given the rare Type III designation under the Gemological Institute of America's clarity classification system. As such, these are the only family members to differentiate themselves with the types of inclusions, patterns of inclusions and incidence of inclusions requisite for production of the diffused light classically referred to when describing an Emerald.

During formation of both green and red beryl, inclusions of the same types and patterns cause comparable disturbances to their larger mineral structures, creating a visually similar crystallography between the two. The same patterns observed in the green jardins of Emerald are also present in the crimson versions. The presence of a jardin is a defining characteristic of an Emerald.

Have We Met? (Enlarged from Previous) The Jardin of this 1/3 ct Emerald has an Impressive Inclusion Spray.

As a Type III gemstone, every Emerald is expected to contain inclusions, but these same inclusions make each Emerald absolutely identifiable. A jardin not only differentiates an Emerald from all other gems, but from all other Emeralds! A high-quality photograph of a jardin can identify a specific gemstone.

Imagine the jardin as an Emerald's face. An Emerald is like an old friend one can come to recognize. As acquaintance grows with an Emerald, its features become familiar. Every small aspect of its nature is slowly revealed and known over time. No unscrupulous jeweler could ever replace a treasured Emerald for a synthetic without the exchange being noticed immediately by the owner!

Some the most memorable faces for gemstones in my collection have interesting inclusions. Certain patterns in green Emerald have been identified and described by a specific name or title so specimens of gemological merit can be located. Trapiche and Catseye stones are examples of rare but known inclusion patterns sought after by connoisseurs. The Red Emerald rarely exhibits these patterns, as well.

Patterns in a gemstone have many opportunities to be discovered: the worker producing minerals at the mine, wholesalers sorting various grades of rough, faceters cutting stones and finally artists using the gems to make jewelry. Everyone in the chain has an opportunity to see a special feature, but patterns in highly-included red beryl can only be revealed by forming a stone.

In order to expose their unchanging inner faces, red beryl cabochons are not cut, but rounded into domes of many shapes. A cabochon can be thought of as a permanent jardin, a gemological marvel or a painting of nature which captures the true essence of mineral formation, and in no form is the investigation of the inner world of a gemstone easier to conduct.

Selection from a 1998 GMI Corporate Report

Mentioning the Brazo de Reina Cabochon.

Any low grade mineral can be used to make a cabochon, but red beryl in any form is exceptionally rare, and the drifts of gem material flowing through their cabochons are breathtaking. Gemstone Mining, Incorporated (GMI) discovered some of the patterns which exist while producing the first red beryl cabochons in the late 1990s.

In corporate reporting, the Brazo de Reina is the only stone ever mentioned with a name. The gem was probably titled after the Brazo de Reina confection. Translated literally as Arm of the Queen, this dessert is made by covering a thin, square sheet of cake with a layer of chocolate, rolling the sheet into a loaf and slicing cakes with a frosted "swirl".

The Brazo de Reina Colombiana is a strawberry variant

of the traditional chocolate favorite.

In Gems & Gemology, Shigley and Foord observed that red beryl "terminations may be slightly concave in shape, show a slight growth spiral, be capped by a second crystal in parallel arrangement, or exhibit other interesting growth-related surface characteristics" (Winter 1984). Hexagonal color zoning and angular growth modifications are some of the extraordinarily uncommon alterations seen in both red and green beryl crystals.

Growth modifications can create gem layers in cabochons

which may look like the Letter O when domed.

Any of these could cause a circular pattern similar to the spiral assumed for the Brazo de Reina, but my business mind is typically unsatisfied by theory, and I would love to see the first gemstone which appraised at $2,500. There could be many Brazo de Reina examples, but I count among the tragedies that this earliest one is lost to history.

Do you also wonder what the original looked like?

If so, then we have fulfilled Acuña's prophecy, for our dreaming of these legendary cherry landscapes has already begun.

At 12.85 carat,The Red Planet is the largest round cabochon to date;

The 16mm wide surface shows circular and geometric growth patterns.

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