The Gemological Institute of America said its museum will debut a recently discovered 472-ct. emerald crystal from the Muzo region mines in Colombia.
The “El Itoco” crystal is a name from Muzo Indian lore, according to Ron Ringsrud, the emerald dealer who loaned it to the GIA Museum on behalf of its owner, Hernando Sanchez, emerald mine shareholder and Colombian emerald exporter.
“This is the first time any of the Colombian mine owners have displayed such a significant emerald at any museum,” Ringsrud said. “This is by far the largest gem-quality crystal to have come out of this historical mining area in a long time.”
The four-inch hexagonal crystal possesses a color equivalent to the finest emeralds, according to Terri Ottaway, GIA Museum curator.
“Pieces of this size and quality are the stuff of legends. It generates what Colombian miners call ‘green fever’ in the imagination,” she said.
The Institute was chosen among some of the nation’s most renowned museums to display this piece, Ottaway said. The El Itoco is displayed in a case that includes three other emerald crystals and an emerald and diamond necklace and earrings suite designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., circa 1960.
The El Itoco emerald crystal is on exhibit in the GIA Museum until early Fall 2009.
GIA Museum exhibit viewings are free and available to the public through scheduled tours. Visitors must sign up for a tour by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800) 421-7250, ext. 4116. Outside of the U.S., interested visitors can call (760) 603-4116 or visit www.gia.edu for more information.