Saturday 31 August 2013

Rare Gemstones IV

Sri Lanka Padparadscha sapphires are a delicate color that is a combination of pink/coral and orange/red.

Padparadscha sapphires are one of the most expensive sapphires, with prices similar to those fetched by fine rubies or emeralds. Prices for padparadscha sapphires are difficult to determine because some value them at the highest range of a pink sapphire at $4,800/carat, while others place them in their own category of up to $30,000/carat. Much depends on the size and quality of the stones.
Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite.

It was first described in 1907 by George D. Louderback, who named it benitoite for its occurrence near the headwaters of the San Benito River in San Benito County, California. It is the sole source of gemstone quality material. Benitoite is California's official state gem.
Demantoid garnet was discovered in 1868 in Russia's western central Ural Mountains. Possessing an unusual green color and a dispersion greater than that of diamond, it quickly became a treasured and expensive gemstone. From the time of the demantoids find until about 1919, they were popular in Russia as Fabergé made jewelry with them.

A significant new find of demantoid and andradite took place in Namibia in 1996 at what is now dubbed the "Green Dragon" mine. Around 2009, there was a significant discovery of demantoid and andradite garnet in Madagascar.
Black opal is the rarest and most valuable of all opals. 97% of all opals come from Australia. Opal is Australia's national gemstone.

Opal is unique among gemstones. No two are ever exactly alike and the colours and patterns within each stone can change with the angle of view.
Taaffeite is named after its discoverer Richard Taaffe who found the first cut and polished gem in November 1945.

In 1951, chemical and X-ray analysis confirmed the principal constituents of taaffeite as beryllium, magnesium and aluminium. Taaffeite occurs in carbonate rocks alongside fluorite, mica, spinel and tourmaline. This extremely rare mineral is found in alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka and southern Tanzania.

Thursday 22 August 2013

The Oak Island Money Pit

Oak Island is approximately 140 acres in size and located just off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. It is one of many small islands in the area and is now linked to the mainland via a narrow causeway.
In 1795 Daniel McGinnis and a friend noticed a circular depression as if a pit had been dug and then filled in again. Believing something of value may have been buried there they dug to a depth of 9.1 metres. Initially they discovered a layer of flagstones followed by traces of pickaxes on the rocks.

Some stories say they found platforms of logs approximately every 3 metres. They failed to find anything of value but the story spread and was quickly linked to the missing treasure of Captain Kidd and even the notorious Blackbeard - Edward Thatch (Teach).
Over the following centuries the pit has been excavated many times and prospectors have even included an American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. It has not been an easy task and the pit is claimed to be 'booby trapped" and has regularly flooded. The best clue found so far was a code inscription on a flat stone which, when translated, apparently stated: "Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried."

The deepest excavations reached 72 metres and over the years at least six people have died trying to find whatever is buried on Oak Island.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Gold collection of Nevada recluse auctioned

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The last remnants of a fortune of coins found packed in ammunition boxes in the garage of a recluse who died last summer was auctioned Tuesday for more than $3.1 million

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The final treasures of a quiet man who collected a fortune in gold coins are going on the auction block Tuesday.

The body of Walter Samaszko Jr. was found in his Carson City home in June 2012. After his death, a cleaning crew hired to tidy his modest, ranch style home where he had lived for four decades came upon a stunning discovery -- boxes and boxes full of gold coins and bullion collected over an unassuming lifetime. It was enough to fill two wheelbarrows. One batch, mostly bullion, was sold at auction in February for $3.5 million. Now, more than 2,600 coins are set to be auctioned in six lots Tuesday at the Carson City courthouse.


"A California substitute teacher will inherit over $7 million in gold coins found in her recluse cousin's home after his death.

A Carson City, Nev., judge ruled Tuesday that Arlene Magdanz was Walter Samasko, Jr.'s only cousin and therefore entitled to his fortune, according to the Associated Press.

Samasko, 69, died in May due to heart problems and was not discovered until June when neighbors complained of an odor coming from his house.

When authorities went to clean out his Carson City home, they found boxes of gold coins in his home and garage.

"He was quite a hoarder. He had boxes and boxes and boxes of things," Carson City Clerk Alan Grover told in September. Grover said there were many containers of food and cans. Grover said the coins were in boxes marked "books." There were also coins wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in ammunition boxes. There were Mexican, British and Austrian coins dating as far back as the 1870s. There was so much gold that Grover used a wheelbarrow to carry the fortune to his truck. The coins were first moved to a bank vault and later moved to armored vehicles. Samasko had no will and no immediate relatives. He was cremated and the remains were flown to Chicago to join his mother who died in 1992. Using the funeral attendance list from Samasko's mother's funeral, Grover tracked down Magdanz, Samasko's first cousin in San Rafael, Calif.
Samasko had only $200 in the bank at the time of his death, according to the Las Vegas Sun, but had stock accounts totaling in $165,000 and had been living off of his investments. Grover said one of his first thoughts upon seeing the thousands of coins was, "What was a guy like this doing with his kind of money in just a regular house?"

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Ohio Baseball Card Hoard

Karl Kissner, 51, never knew his grandfather, who passed away in the 1940s, so he had no idea what to expect when he cleaned out the attic at the family’s longtime Ohio home in 2012. What he found sent ripples through the sports memorabilia world — the late Carl Hench had stashed some 700 rare, mint-condition baseball cards, featuring greats like Ty Cobb and Cy Young. In all, the entire collection is valued at around $3 million, according to experts at Professional Sports Authenticator.
The highest grade the company had ever rated a Cobb card in what’s known as the E98 Series is a “7” on a scale of 1-10. According to this memorabilia rating agency, there are 16 Cobb cards alone rated as “9” in Kissner’s collection, with a Honus Wagner card rated a perfect “10.”

Thursday 8 August 2013

Rare Gemstones III

Jeremejevite is a colorless, sky blue or pale yellow stone, the highest quality of which comes from Namibia. In nature it occurs in small obelisk-shaped crystals and has in the past been mistaken for aquamarine. It was named after Russian mineralogist Pavel Jeremejev who discovered the mineral in 1883.

Australia is the world's main supplier of opals. Almost 95 per cent of all opals come from Australian mines.
Alexandrite undergoes dramatic shifts in color depending on what kind of light it's in. A variety of Chrysoberyl, alexandrite belongs to the same family of gemstones as emerald. It's color-changing properties (and its scarcity relative to diamond) is due to an exceedingly rare combination of minerals that includes titanium, iron and chromium.

Tanzanite is found almost exclusively in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Like alexandrite, tanzanite exhibits dramatic color shifts that are dependent upon both crystal orientation and lighting conditions
Poudretteite - The first traces of poudrette were discovered in the mid 1960s in the Poudrette quarry of Mont Saint Hilaire, Quebec, but it wasn't officially recognized as a new species of mineral until 1987, and wasn't thoroughly described until as recently as 2003.

Jeremejevite was first discovered in Siberia at the end of the 19th century, gem-quality crystals of jeremejevite have since been recovered in limited supplies in Namibia. Pictured is the largest faceted jeremejevite on Earth, just shy of 60 carats (or roughly 12 grams).