One of the most fascinating and one of the rarest gems yet discovered.
Imagine the colour of a light blue Sapphire, combined with the fire of a Diamond and the rarity of winning the lottery 10 times in a row! That’s Benitoite!
Most pieces faceted around the globe to-date weigh less than 0.5ct, are Swiss blue in appearance and have a slightly cloudy clarity. However, just recently I managed to acquire one piece, which has incredible clarity and a colour similar to that of the finest Kashmir Sapphire. It also weighs a very impressive 0.75ct. I have shown this piece to several of my friends in the trade and every one of them has commented that it is probably the finest piece ever faceted!
First discovered by a gentleman named James Couch in 1907 near the San Benito River in California (hence its name), the gem was originally thought to be a Sapphire. However, after sending several tiny pieces to the University of California, a mineralogist named Dr George Louderback identified the specimen as a brand new mineral. In 1985, as ‘gem-quality’ Benitoite had still only ever been discovered in California, it was named California’s official state gem. For 102 years this gem has been highly prized by gem collectors and yet only a handful of top quality pieces have ever been faceted.