The Story Behind Alpine Aquamarine

On our recent trip to Brazil, we met an aquamarine miner from the Bahia region.  He showed us a fascinating small parcel, perhaps 40 stones in all, of bi-colour beryl, being half aquamarine and half opaque white beryl that gave the immediate of impression of ice and snow. It was initially presented to us aqua and quartz, which we knew couldn’t possibly be correct, so we studied each piece closely.  Was there some deceptive hocus-pocus going on here or was it the real deal?

Our interpreter, being 40-year veteran of the Brazilian gem trade, had never seen this material before, nor had anyone else we made enquiries with.  We met with the miner in the gemstone trading town of Teofilo Ontoni, and through our interpreter, the miner explained he discovered a pocket of these crystals in his aquamarine mine in Bahia, the neighbouring state to the north.  Incredibly, the miner also had never seen this bi-colour combination in his long career and doubted he would find more.  The consensus was that this was a one-off, so we had a strong feeling we were onto something very special indeed.

A gemmological report was arranged with a local lab that confirmed the stones to be naturally formed in a single crystal and the pieces had received standard heat treatment as applied to almost all aquamarine.

We were among the very first to see these stones in the market, so the opportunity was important to consider.  We inspected the parcel and filtered our choice to 17 pieces, approximately half of the stones in existence.  We felt many of the stones were too large and heavy (40 carats plus) for our market, so we purchased all of the smaller, manageable sizes.  

We made several attempts to obtain an uncut crystal to study and photograph, alas, the miner said he gave all of this extremally rare rough to his local cutter and it was dutifully cut as instructed.  To our knowledge, no crystals remain from the single pocket discovered.

On our return to Australia, we sent some pieces to Bill Sechos at GSL for a report.  Bill confirmed the stones to be “Natural Bi-Colour Beryl.  Aquamarine and White Beryl.  The creative types among the staff at O’Neils provided the ideal name, Alpine Aquamarine.

Considering the rarity, unusual nature, and future collectability of the of these gemstones O’Neils Affiliated is offering these stones at surprisingly affordable prices.  This a is strictly one-off limited parcel.  Once sold, there will be no replacement stock.

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