The word "bespoke" normally is used to refer to men's suits that are precisely measured and handcrafted for a particular individuals' unique body type. In this case, I use the word refers to a small personal collection of gems that suit me. Gems that I find particularly compelling and I have never previously offered for sale.
Gems are all about beauty. Duke Ellington was once famously asked; "how do you tell good music from bad?" He thought for a moment and replied; "If it sounds good it is good." The large mandarin aka spessartite garnet above is potentially the 5th most brilliant gem. Prior to its discovery in north western Nigeria about a decade ago, spessartite of this quality was found in only one location, the Little Three Mine in Ramona, California. The Nigerian source was quickly mined out and stones of this size and quality are almost unavailable in the market.
This one was just put up on the website, but this image is a better one. The gem is fully brilliant and of a perfect jucy fruit orange hue. 15.05×9.49mm Available at $26,800.
Connoisseurship in gems (or any field) can be similarly understoood. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato identified
beauty with truth. Beauty, Plato said, is truth and truth is beauty. As applied to gemstones, a beautiful stone is a good stone or as the Duke might have put it; "If it looks good it is good!"
1.49 Carat Burma Ruby. A particularly fine square cushion in the classic pigeon’s blood color. I Love the way the light dances inside the stone. 6.99×6.06mm Heat enhanced. $14,000.00
A gem's appeal is visceral. That means that gemstones appeal to us at gut level. Ever enter a jewelry store, see something you immediately fall in love with then spend time browsing only to return to that first love?
Often a beautiful stone can be understood by analying it using the classical standards I talk about in my book; namely color, cut, clarity and crystal, but sometimes a gem will be beautiful despite the fact that it violates one or more of the classical criteria, in fact it may appeal precisely because it has a non-traditional look.
A fabulous salad green gem, a fully brilliant radiant with wonderful crystal. 12.72×8.71mm $12,000.00
The true connoisseur understands the traditional criteria, but preserves his sense of wonder and approaches each gem as if it were his first and something totally new. This is the mark of a supple mind, the mind of the genuine connoisseur. Consider the lovely pastel lettice-like green of this grossular garnet above. Once denigrated because it lacked the medium dark emerald green, collectors have come to appreciate it for its crystalline light green hue and water clear crystal.
A recent strike in Mozambique has begun to produce ruby of exceptional quality. This is fortuitous because Burma's two mining areas, the new mine at
A lovely larger gem from the new ruby workings in Mozambique. This stone is the classic pigeon’s blood color.
Mong Hsu stopped producing a few years back and the Old Mine, The Valley of the Serpents, (Mogok) in upper Burma that has produced since the Bronze Age may finally be played out.
This gem also exhibits the classic color, the stones are untreated and sell for about the same price as heat treated Burmese rubies. Given the quality, it will not be long before these Madagascar gems begin to sell on a par with rubies from the older deposits in Burma.