‘Nyala’ Ruby from Malawi

There’s a new production of ruby and orange-to-pink sapphire from Malawi, and the man most noted for creating trademark gem names—Eric Braunwart of Columbia Gem House in Vancouver, Wash.—has added this one to his all-natural trademark list.

Braunwart, who has trademarked such names as “grape garnet,” “tashmarine,” “imperial diopside,” and “fire citrine” as well as “spice pearls” and “seafoam tourmaline,” is also the recently elected president of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). According to Daniel Stair, creative marketing aide at Columbia Gem House, the “Nyala” ruby was named after a species of antelope found in Africa, particularly in Malawi near the location of the ruby/sapphire mine.

Malawi, in southeastern Africa, is bordered by Mozambique to the south, Zambia to the west, and Tanzania to the north. According to Braunwart, the new mine is producing natural ruby and pink, orange, and even padparadscha sapphires in sizes from melee to 7 cts. In addition, Braunwart guarantees they are not heat-treated, which is important in light of recent concerns about beryllium bulk diffusion treatment of sapphires.

Braunwart is one of a growing number of suppliers focusing on sources of all-natural gems. And to make certain of gems’ color origin, Columbia Gem House reportedly has made an agreement with the mine to control the rough from the time it leaves the ground until the time it reaches the company’s offices in Vancouver. Braunwart also controls the ruby and sapphire until it reaches the retailer. “This tight control of the supply chain is the only way to ensure that no treatment of any kind has been done to the gemstones,” he writes.