19. The Marcial de Gomar Star
Superb one-of-a-kind 25.86 carat cabochon double sided star emerald — the largest known recorded and first double sided specimen in the world.
There were no recorded specimens of asterism in emerald beryls until the late 20th century; up until the publication of John Sinankas’ “Emeralds and other Beryls” in 1981, it was noted that there was no record of any such specimens even after a ten year investigation undertaken at that time by GIA. The 25.86 carat “Marcial de Gomar Star Emerald” represents an almost unknown phenomena in the world of emeralds, making gem history as an incredibly large and double sided star emerald.
This museum quality specimen was featured recently by GIA in their prestigious “Gems & Gemology” publication and has been noted by some experts as the largest and the eleventh known recorded specimen to date. This mesmerizing gem has a story as unique as its gemological properties. Selected from a parcel of rough purchased in 1997 from an African emerald dealer from Madagascar, the uncut emerald was finally pulled from the safe sometime in 2001 to be examined for possible faceting by Marcial de Gomar. Recognizing that there might be some chatoyancy, possibly in the form of a cat’s eye, Marcial sent the stone for cutting to his longtime expert emerald cutter with instructions to cut the stone in a double cabochon style instead of the typical style, which features a single curved dome only. Once returned, the result was a remarkable specimen that was at first baffling, as it did not behave optically in the typical manner of the cat’s eye phenomena in gems (a defined solid line moving laterally from side to side). Instead, this specimen had a play of light that moved in all directions under the same lighting conditions as used when viewing cat’s eye gems.
Having never seen a star emerald before, and with the gem’s chatoyant properties not showing a clear star (as would be well known in ruby or sapphire and other beryls), Marcial therefore never considered it to be present in this particular specimen, and assuming it may have just been an unusual form of cat’s eye phenomena, decided to place it away safely in his personal safe until a further opportunity to re-examine it more closely was warranted. The star emerald lay untouched in the far corner of a McGunn safe for another nine years until the decision was made to assemble a one-of-a-kind collection representing the 60 years of Marcial’s life in the emerald and precious gem industry, to be made available for collectors and the world. Over the next three years as this project was developed, the gem was re-examined closer by renowned gemologist and appraiser Martin Fuller of Martin Fuller & Associates. Having examined such famous gems as the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian, he immediately recommended the gem be sent to Gemological Institute of America for identification after realizing that it had asterism which only showed up under specific lighting conditions.
On July 16th 2013, the star emerald was certified and took its place in gem history the largest known recorded of perhaps less than a dozen other known star emeralds. From the Star’s initial journey in 1997 to its certification in 2013 and subsequent exposure to the world in 2015 in the journals of GIA, the 18-year journey marks a crowning achievement in the life of Manuel Marcial de Gomar and in the history of rare gems.
Accompanied by GIA Report 2185154008 of February 24, 2017.
Note: Due to the inability of current technology capturing the blue green hues and light dispersion in emeralds accurately, digital and particularly print images, do no justice to the true beauty, color and fire of Colombian emeralds. These magnificent specimens truly need to be seen with the naked eye to be appreciated to their full extent.