SANTA ANA, CA.-
In the Bowers
tradition of bringing fine jewels and rare gems to the Southern California community, the Museum hosts Jewels of the Connoisseur, which exhibits some gemstones so rare that only true connoisseurs even know they exist. This incredible collection of some of the rarest gemstones in the world showcases classic jewelry settings including pins, necklaces, pendants and more. Jewels of the Connoisseur is being exhibited in the Pimco Foundation Gallery from July 27, 2013 through October 6, 2013.
Every gemstone is created in a unique geological environment that shapes its quality, color and appearance. While some places are associated with common gems, emeralds from Colombia, rubies from Burma (Myanmar), or diamonds from South Africa for example, the world's rarest gems come from little known locations and are found in very small quantities. Often named after the person who discovered them or the location where they were discovered, gems like benitoite or kunzite are found in very small quantities and only a fraction of those found have the ability to be cut or faceted for use in jewelry. In fact, such jewels are so rare that few outside of the most avid gem collectors know that they exist.
A part of the fifty works of art and brilliant jewelry settings on display in Jewels of the Connoisseur, is the largest, gem quality cut morganite in the world to the best of the collectors' knowledge. The morganite is a peachy pink gemstone from the beryl family. A morganite from the same pocket as this one was obtained from the lenders in 2011 and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. It weighs 448.64 carats while this stone weighs 1,377 carats. George Kunz, a gemologist for Tiffany's, named Morganite in 1911 in honor of J.P. Morgan, the well-known banker and gem collector.
Jewels of the Connoisseur is a presentation of some of the world's most uncommon gemstones. This collection has been assembled over decades by Buzz Gray and Bernadine Johnston who have played many roles in the world of gems and jewelry, including miner, gem dealer, gem cutter and jewelry designer. Their passion for collecting has always been driven by the opportunity to source the rarest of gems and their collection has grown over the years allowing for the creation of jewelry and art pieces.