The gemstone world is fascinating as it is, but with the largest crystals ever found, gems become even more amazing. Today we’re going to talk about the Selenite cave, the Golden Jubilee diamond, and the mystical Bahia Emerald.
The Largest Crystals and Precious Gemstones Ever Found On Earth
1. Largest Crystals – Selenite Cave In Chihuahua, Mexico
If it’s the size we’re after, then it’s the size you’re going to get. The Selenite Cave in Chihuahua, Mexico, is one of a kind because the entire area is studded with gigantic selenite crystals. If you think of something glittery and fine like what you can expect from an Emerald City, you’re completely wrong.
The Selenite Cave has a monstrous quantity of crystals that jut from the floor to the cave ceiling. The cave walls are also studded with ‘swords’ of smaller selenite that are no less amazing as the crystal protrusions can measure several inches to a foot each.
The hallway of the cave is eighty meters long and is studded with endless selenite. The largest selenite crystals here can measure up to 11 meters in height. In a world where gemstones are sold as tiny cabochons and faceted stones, seeing a two-meter monstrosity will likely make you faint.
More than 90 years ago, a mining quest targeting a massive load of silver uncovered the small, underground chamber. Miners Juan Sanchez and Pedro Sanchez were responsible for the discovery. If you want a pop culture reference as to what the cave looks like, check out the Superman film from 1978 that features the Cave of Solitude. Yes, that’s what it looks like.
The cavern of crystals ten meters wide and has the largest known natural formations of crystals. Some of the selenite here can have a width of over two meters. The largest crystals are estimated to weigh as much as 55 tons. Scientists believe that it took half a million years of natural deposition for these crystals to emerge as they are—a truly wonderful and monstrous product of nature worth seeing in Mexico.
Read more: Meaning and healing properties of selenite
2. Largest Precious Gemstone – The Golden Jubilee Diamond
The Golden Jubilee diamond is one of the largest natural diamonds in the world. People also used to call it the “Unnamed Brown Diamond”.
Today, this massive specimen is estimated to have a value of between four million to twelve million dollars. It weighs approximately 109.13 grams and is categorized as a fancy yellow-brown diamond. A fire rose cut was used to polish it, and it has a carat weight of 545.67 carats. This diamond was originally owned by Henry Ho, who is from Thailand.
This diamond is officially the number one diamond based on size and carat weight. It exceeds the carat weight of the more well-known Cullinan I by over ten carats. Many people say that this diamond looks orange, but in reality, it’s not. That’s just the light playing with some of the internal layers of the diamond.
The official classification is a fancy brown diamond. Before it was officially cut, people didn’t like it because it looked ugly. Many people don’t understand about diamonds – when they are mined, they aren’t smooth and polished. Diamonds only shine when they are cut and polished by a skilled diamond cutter. Discover 15 Popular types of Gemstone Cut and Which is the Most Expensive Cut.
The Golden Jubilee diamond was unearthed in the same mine as the Cullinan I – the Premier Mine. It was unearthed in 1985 and has had only a few owners. The first person to ever handle the diamond professionally was Gabriel Tolkowsky.
The DeBeers company gave it to him to test new tools for cutting and polishing precious stones. The original Golden Jubilee diamond had plenty of deep cracks and other internal inclusions that made the process of cutting it very sensitive and risky.
To preserve the diamond and prevent any untoward incidents that could ruin the diamond, Tolkowsky had to cut and process it in a special underground chamber free of any vibrations that could affect the special cutting tools.
It took a total of two years before the diamond was finally cut into a fire rose stone that gleamed like the sun. The transformation process was slow because of the weight and size of the stone. It isn’t every day that you get to cut a stone that was more than 500 carats in weight. The cut stone was first exhibited in Laem Chabang in Thailand. It was also selected to highlight DeBeer’s celebrations in 1988.
3. Largest Non-Faceted Precious Gemstone – Bahia Emerald
The Bahia Emerald has the most contentious history of all the supersized crystals in history. As of this writing, the Bahia Emerald is still stored in a special vault located in the LA County Sheriff’s Department. The Bahia Emerald has no legal or rightful owner, though dozens of people have claimed it belongs to them.
The uncut monstrosity of an emerald agglomerate weighs 725 pounds and is worth $925 million as of this writing, as well. This emerald has the same height as a small refrigerator, and the US legal system has still not decided who it truly belongs to.
Even the Brazilian government has filed a case that wishes to claim the emerald as theirs. The name of the emerald comes from the Bahia Mines of Brazil. Bahia is actually “bay,” a corruption of the English word. It was eventually moved from Brazil to the United States, and this is where things got more than a little frazzling.
Small players animate the emerald trade in the United States, and specimens’ valuation doesn’t follow market standards. In short, a lot of the valuation comes from the underground, which makes it tougher to trace, which belongs to who originally. As for this behemoth of an emerald, it has been challenging for the police and the judges to determine who it should truly go to. Until that time, it will stay in the vault where it waits silently to be claimed by its rightful owner.
Read more: Meaning and healing properties of emerald
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