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61,500-Carat Gem Sells for $50M

It’s been called an ‘icon in world of art and gems.’

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PINGDINGSHAN, CHINA — China-based Yulong Eco-Materials Ltd. has agreed to buy the Millennium Sapphire, which is “widely considered an icon in world of art and gems,” for $50 million, according to a press release from the company.

The stone is believed to have been out of the public eye for more than a decade.

The firm (Nasdaq CM: YECO) plans to take the Millennium Sapphire on a world tour of museums around the world as well as to develop documentaries and include it in the plots of feature films. Located in Pingdingshan in Henan Province, Yulong is a manufacturer of eco-friendly building products and a construction waste management company.

CEO Hoi Ming Chan said, “We will develop the business and cash flows of the Millennium Sapphire through branding and licensing along with royalties and ticket sales through major museums worldwide. We will retain some of the top art and promotions experts globally to develop and manage this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Yulong is paying for the sapphire by issuing 25 million restricted shares valued at $2 per share.

The Wall Street Journal reports that

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Discovered in Madagascar in 1995, the sapphire has been in the hands of a consortiuma consortium lead by Daniel McKinney. 

Rather than break the large stone into smaller pieces, McKinney initiated the Millennium Sapphire project, hiring Italian artist and designer Alessio Boschi to design the carving. 

Acccording to the release, the sapphire “was recognized in 2001 in the Guinness Book of records as the largest carved sapphire in the world at 61,500 carats.”

The release also explains:

Boschi’s inspiration for the Millennium Sapphire was to sculpt a tribute to the creative genius of humanity. Starting from a base of human figures supporting the four doors of air, water, earth and fire, the sapphire takes us on an upward winding spiral helix through history depicting over 134 figures representing the high points of man’s achievements over the last 5000 years including the Pyramids of Giza, Confucius, Archimedes, the Great Wall of China, Julius Caesar, Mayan hieroglyphic writing, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Pasteur, Monet, Edison, Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, Gandhi, Neil Armstrong, Mother Teresa and a host of others.

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