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World's biggest aquamarine gem going on show in US

Published on Dec 5, 2012 7:27 AM
The National Museum of Natural History will permanently display the Dom Pedro Aquamarine, pictured, which is the largest single piece of cut-gem aquamarine in the world, beginning December 6, 2012. A Florida gem collector who donated a stunning new treasure that goes on permanent display this week at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington said the act was like parting with a child. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The largest single piece of cut-gem aquamarine in the world is going on permanent exhibition from Thursday in Washington alongside the Hope Diamond and Marie Antoinette's earrings.

Mined from a Brazilian pegmatite in the 1980s, and named for Brazil's first two emperors, the Dom Pedro Aquamarine will take pride of place at the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution.

"The quality of the original crystal and its size, exquisite blue-green color and distinctive cut make it an exceptionally rare gem," the museum said in a statement.

The obelisk-shaped, blue-green gem - designed by famed German gem cutter Bernd Munsteiner, known as the "father of the fantasy cut" - stands 35.5cm tall and weighs 10,363 carats or two kilograms.

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