21. Nine Pillars of the Andes
Nine loose rough Muzo/Atocha emeralds at 91.69 carats (total weight). Their respective weights are: 26.72 carats, 15.54 carats, 11.65 carats, 9.82 carats, 7.77 carats, 6.68 carats, 6.45 carats, 4.56 carats, and 2.50 carats.
Derived from the mere seven approximate pounds of rough emeralds recovered from the wreck site of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha over a span of 30 years, these museum quality specimens were originally intended for King Philip of Spain to pay for the seagoing Armadas. Buried by the wreck of the Atocha under 12 feet of sand at nine fathoms deep in the waters of the Florida Straits for almost four centuries, these represent some of the largest and finest rough emeralds recovered during this unusually difficult search. (The ocean sands present a much more difficult environment for finding emeralds than the veins followed at emerald mines). Bearing the marine fossil diatoms particular to Florida waters, these untreated specimens are similar to those that have yielded the likes of the fine cut emeralds of the Marcial de Gomar Collection. Their outward surfaces may veil from the inexperienced eye the fiery green gems that lay hidden within.
In his role as an independent grader and appraiser of the emerald recoveries from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, Marcial de Gomar was honored to examine these extremely rare treasures and assign them grades using methods based upon the Chivor Emerald Mine grading system used during Willis Bronkie’s tenure. He knew to give special consideration to the fact that these emeralds had to be found twice: once in the remote mountains of the Colombian Andes, brought through jungles and rivers past hostile tribes to Cartagena in the Caribbean, and a second time in the Florida Keys where they were rediscovered in 1986.
Significantly, in the Arabic numerals system, nine is symbolic of unity because it is the highest unrepeated figure. These nine Pillars recall the Spanish Pillars of Hercules: the vertical markers set upon the twisting ocean on each side of the entrance to the Mediterranean, seen on Spanish coinage and celebrated today as our dollar sign. This magnificent group ranges in varying sizes from smallest at 2.50 carats to the largest, weighing 26.72 carats, with a combined total weight of 91.69 carats, representing some of the finest material that Muzo has to offer from an irreplaceable and extremely scarce inventory. The Nine Pillars of the Andes present a unique opportunity to whomever may become the distinguished owner of arguably the largest quantity of fine rough Atocha emeralds available in one collection at auction.
Each accompanied by Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC Certificate of Authenticity; 26.72 carat stone additionally accompanied by GIA report.
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.