What is the Superman of tourmalines? What about the Wonder Woman? Learn the answer to these questions and more in this episode of Journey to the Stone, where Gem Hunter Don Kogen discusses tourmaline, the “gem with superpowers.”
Aquamarine, the brother of Emerald is discussed in this week’s podcast with Don Kogen. Aquamarine goes back historically hundreds of years. If you look at the scriptures, you'll see that Aquamarine is referenced back to the Maharajas of India. Aquamarines has been discovered in Brazil, the Himalayan belt and Africa. Listen to this week’s story and find out why no one wants “Black Rain”, and everyone wants Santa Maria.
What do Fabergé and Don Kogen have in common? Demantoid Garnet. Just as Fabergé popularized Demantoid Garnet among royals and czars, Kogen influenced its modern market: he discovered the one-off Madagascar Demantoid deposit and sold the lion’s share of it. Due to a characteristic in its crystal structure unique among Garnets, the Demantoid Garnet disperses a fire that surpasses even Diamond. With the world now lacking a significant supply of it, Demantoid Garnet is poised to become one of the rarest, most valuable gems on the scene.
The impostor counterpart to Ruby and Sapphire for hundreds of years, Spinel has even fooled royalty: the Black Princess Ruby in the British Crown Jewels is a Spinel. Now, Spinel finally has its own lane, its own race—and it is in the Olympics with Ruby and Sapphire, selling for up to five digits a carat. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen takes us through the different varieties and origins of Spinel—Namya Red Jedi, Sri Lanka Cobalt, Vietnam Neon Cobalt Blue, and Mahenge Tanzanian—and up to his discovery of the world’s largest Cobalt Spinel, a 25.00 carat anomaly of a gemstone for which a mere 3.00 carat specimen is rare.
2012 and the hunt was on: 10,000 people; cities being built in the middle of the jungle; gemological researchers flown in by helicopter. And—soon after—the military. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen tells the story of Madagascar’s short-lived Didy deposit, which produced lucrative Kashmir Sapphire lookalikes, as he traces his experience with the storied Sapphire. Starting with legendary Paddar Kashmir Sapphire, which dates back to the Maharajas in ancient India, and commands the highest prices due to its historical value, our Gem Hunter discusses: his journeys of over 800 miles by foot between Azad Kashmir and Paddar to learn about the Kashmir Sapphire; the Sapphires of Sri Lanka and the Mogok Stone Tract; the qualities of heated and unheated Sapphires of various origins; and, finally, the California Gold Rush-style phenomenon of the Didy deposit in Madagascar.
Northern Lights, gem asterism, chatoyancy: some of the most compelling and extraordinary natural phenomena may share an origin. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen notes that the Northern Lights primarily come from material in Sri Lanka, which also produces the finest Cat’s Eye and Blue Star Sapphire. He goes on to discuss Star Rubies, Chrysoberyl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone. And of these striking, celestial gemstones, our Gem Hunter touches on the most remarkable varieties—which only occur once in every half a million pieces of rough material.
Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor, Spanish royalty and Russian czars: Emerald has an illustrious history of admirers. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen takes us through it all. Originating in Colombia’s Boyacá Highlands, Emerald was sacred in the religion of the indigenous Muzo people. Born of magma and Chromium, which gives the finest-quality Colombian and Russian Takovaya Emeralds their signature neon color, Emerald has caused obsessions so intense that they erupted into war—sometimes lasting for 50 years. Don Kogen has worked with churches to locate and evaluate the rarest and most historical Emeralds. And he has much to say about this otherworldly gemstone, which has times demanded over $200,000 a carat.
One in a hundred million Sapphires will be a Padparadscha, sporting a unique pink-orange color. Beloved by the Maharajas of ancient India, this rare stone gets its unique color through an uncommon, perfect mix of Iron and Chromium. Listen to Don Kogen talk about the sunrise and sunset Padparadscha, the California Gold Rush-style discoveries of the Ilakaka and Didy deposits in Madagascar, and the source of the name Padparadscha, which means “lotus.”
It holds all the colors of the most important gems in the world: the red of the Ruby, the blue of the Sapphire, the green of the Emerald, and the yellows of the Canary Yellow Diamond. Opal is Mother Nature's painting on a gemstone, and its value is correspondingly high: Don Kogen has paid $200,000 for a single deposit of Opal before. Listen to this episode about the exciting Lightning Ridge Black Opal, a rare variety of Black Opal found only in Lightning Ridge, Australia. Don Kogen also touches on the Indonesian Opal, Ethiopian Opal, Welo Opal, and Harlequin Black Opal as he traces the lifespan of this rare gemstone.