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A Faceted Poudretteite Is So Rare Few Gemologists Will Ever Encounter One, Says GIA

Nearly flawless 9.41-carat poudretteite is the only gem of its kind in the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection.





TODAY STARTS AN occasional series covering the rarest gems you’ve probably never heard of. The remarkable 9.41-carat light-pink oval gem seen here is one of the largest — if not the largest — faceted poudretteite in existence, according to the Smithsonian.

A faceted poudretteite is so rare, says the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), that few professional gemologists will ever encounter one.

Poudretteite gets its name from the Poudrette family, owners and operators of a quarry near Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada, where a few tiny crystals of the curious material was first unearthed in the mid-1960s. It would take until 1986 for poudretteite to finally be recognized and registered as a new mineral.


In 2000, the first documented gem-quality specimen of poudretteite was discovered nearly half-a-world away in Mogok, Burma — an area famous for its pigeon’s blood rubies, as well as lapis lazuli, garnet, moonstone, amethyst, peridot and chrysoberyl. The 3-carat poudretteite was submitted to the Gubelin Gem Lab for examination, and the findings were published in the scholarly journal Gems & Gemology in 2003.

Also sourced in Burma, the much larger, nearly flawless 9.41-carat poudretteite is the only gem of its kind in the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection. The gem was generously gifted to the Smithsonian in 2007 by Frances Miller Seay.

Poudretteite can range from colorless to purple-pink and owes its color to the presence of manganese in its chemical composition. Specimens with few inclusions and saturated color are said to be worth $6,000 per carat or more.

On the Mohs hardness scale, poudretteite rates a 5, compared to amethyst (7), topaz (8), sapphire (9) and diamond (10). The relative softness of the gem makes it unsuitable to be used in a ring, but it could be used, with care, in earrings, a pendant or pin.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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