Aquamarine is the birthstone for those born in the month of March. A cool, calming ocean blue, this stone has long been worn and appreciated by many, as it can easily pair with any skin tone and eye color.
Mined in areas around the world like Pakistan and Madagascar, some of the larger deposits are located in Brazil and Mozambique. These latter areas, particularly Brazil, have become known for the discovery of larger crystals, including one that would become the most notable to date.
In 1980, three men discovered a rather large aquamarine in Pedra Azul, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Shortly after this enormous specimen was discovered, the meter long aquamarine, was unfortunately dropped and shattered into multiple pieces. The largest remnant, being 2 feet in length and 60 pounds, was salvaged and turned into the statuesque gawker now known as Dom Pedro (though it would be over a decade before this would occur).
Sometime in the 90’s, a German gem dealer, Jürgen Henn, was invited by Pedro’s original owner to photograph and inspect the giant. Henn quickly recognized the significance of Pedro’s existence and was thrilled when notified that the crystal was up for sale a year after their first meeting.
Henn, accompanied by both the son of prominent master cutter and gem artist, Bernd Munsteiner, Tom Munsteiner and Henn’s own son, Axel, traveled to Brazil to secure the purchase. However, negotiating the price would not be half as difficult as getting the stone
out of the country. The new owners had to stealthy and safely get the gem and themselves out of Brazil without drawing too much attention from corrupt masterminds and officials. Once this feat was accomplished, it was time to deliver the duckling to Bernd Munsteiner to begin its path to swan-hood.
Munsteiner found that there were many inclusions throughout the crystal and rather than chipping away more and more, he decided to embrace the “flaws” and turn them into a focal point, salvaging even more of the gem and the surrounding clarity, than if not. The elder Munsteiner would spend four months of the overall year to study and understand the “project of his life”, ultimately giving life to the jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring 10,363 carat (roughly 4.6lbs) 13.75” tall and 4” wide Dom Pedro.
For a time, Dom Pedro traveled through Europe and other continents as a German ambassador before finding itself in the hands of Jane Mitchell who decided the wonder would be better suited on display in a museum. Together with her husband, Mitchell kindly donated the beautiful giant to the Smithsonian Institute in 2011 where it still resides to this day amongst other one of a kind record holders.
If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as Six Silver Medals To Honor Earth Day
Liberty Coin & Currency specializes in rare coins and currency. We are a family-owned business located in Portland and Vancouver. We are also gold, silver, diamond, currency and jewelry buyers. Visit us first for a free evaluation.