There are many kinds of emerald gems, ranging in color from rich, deep sea green to delicate pale green and everything in between. But only rare trapiche emeralds, found in Colombia, have a distinguishing six-pointed carbon ray that emanates from the hexagonal center, giving these particular gems their distinct black-and-green color.
Unlike the asterism in sapphires and rubies, for example, the “star” or six-pointed rays in trapiche emeralds are caused by carbon impurities that form simultaneously along with the emerald crystal itself, filling the inside of it with a six-spoke wheel pattern. Some of these impurities include albite, quartz, or even a carbon material, outlining a hexagonal beryl core.
The Origin of the Name Trapiche
The name originates from the trapiche sugar mill. The trapiche itself is the Spanish name for the grinding wheel used to process sugar cane in Colombia, where these rare emeralds can be found. The country’s Muzo and Penas Blancas mine districts are sources for these special gems.
Most trapiche emeralds are usually cut into round or oval gems, which perfectly show off their six-spoke carbon patterns. Other cuts, however, such as heart and cabochon, are also becoming popular for these unique gemstones.
The Rarity and Value of Trapiche Emerald Gems
Relatively speaking, there are not many trapiche emerald gems in existence and even many people who pride themselves on their general knowledge of gemstones have not heard of or know very little about them. They are considered to be among the rarest and most distinct and memorable “pattern” gems ever discovered.
It is not surprising, therefore, that trapiche emerald gems are considered to be one of the most valuable gemstones in the world. Their specific value depends on many factors, such as color and saturation, the gem’s clarity, the carat or the size, and most importantly, the definition, completeness and centering of the carbon rays. The quality of the cut can also be considered.
Trapiche, or six-spoke wheel pattern emerald gems, are a rare, naturally occurring phenomenon truly in a class by themselves. It’s no wonder these dramatic looking wonders continue to attract discerning buyers and collectors the world over.
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