From the famed and mysterious Emerald Tablets to the one of the most rare diamonds on the whole planet, here are some of the most fascinating and incredible Emerald, Gem and Diamond Discoveries Ever Made.
7. Pylos Combat Agate
In 2015, researchers in southwest Greece discovered an elaborate tomb. The 3,000 500 year old gravesite held the skeleton of a man who has since been dubbed the “Griffin Warrior” due to being buried with a plaque bearing an emblem of the mythological half lion- half eagle namesake creature. Alongside the warrior were dozens of rings and other jewelry pieces, plus a stunning bronze sword. While cleaning the recovered odds and ends, researchers discovered that a typically unexciting chunk of agate held something absolutely incredible: an intricately carved image. The piece is no more than one and a half inches in length yet somehow holds the portrait of a victorious warrior plunging his sword into a foe as another one lays by his feet. The full image can only be seen under a powerful photo-micropsy camera lense, causing researchers to question how the artist even made the tiny piece in the first place. Individual muscles can be seen in each of the figures, as can individual locks of hair! The piece is an example of the mind-bogglingly absolutely amazing craftsmanship that went into pieces of art and jewelry in ancient Greece.
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On May 18, 1980, an unthinkable natural disaster shook Washington state, destroying countless homes and businesses. Mount St. Helens erupted furiously, unleashing its volcanic fury on the usually peaceful surrounding towns. Ash and smoke was hurled over eighty thousand feet in the air from the peak of the ten thousand foot tall landmark from repeated blasts that have been compared in force to that produced by over one hundred nuclear bomb detonations. 1 hundred degree fahrenheit lava poured across the land, scorching the surrounding cities. Months later, during the clean up process, a sort of beauty within the beast was discovered: a clear, green gem known as Helenite in reference to its eruptive origin. As cleaners heated the volcanic rock that formed as the lava cooled, they were dazzled by the uncovered stones. Scientists tested the gems and believe that the mineral composites in the rocks around the volcano were a perfect formation that created Helenite on a fluke. Dubbed “America’s Emerald”, Helenite is surprisingly cheap, with a six carat piece costing around $150 while a comparable piece containing true emerald would set you back around $15,000.
5. Cullinan Diamond
The average center stone diamond in an engagement ring weighs in at one to two carats with the total weight of the stones in the ring being under six carats. This alone can be quite a pricey set up, so one can only imagine the shock that came when miners discovered the Cullinan Diamond, a gem that clocks in at a whopping 3,106.75 carats. Known as the world’s largest gem-quality rough-bahstone ever found, the Cullinan Diamond was discovered on January 26, 1905 by miners of the in Cullinan, South Africa, a small town named for the occupying mining company’s chairman. Despite considerable interest, the diamond sat unsold until 1907 when the Transvaal Colony purchased it and presented it to King Edward VI for his 66th birthday. King Edward had the stone cut into over one hundred and five different pieces, the two largest of which are known as Cullinan I and Cullinan II. The first, also referred to as the the Great Star of Africa, is 530.4 carats and is known as the largest clear cut diamond in history. It rests at the head of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. Cullinan II, also known as the Second Star of Africa, weighs 317.4 carats and is mounted on the Imperial State Crown. Both gems are part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. All of the other fragments have gone to private collectors save for seven major diamond cuts, several brilliants, and a selection of unpolished fragments which reside with Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited them from Queen Mary.
4. The Pink Star
3. The Cursed Bahia Emerald
2. Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond
1. The Emerald Tablets