A rare 93.94-carat Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique, named the “Blue Lagoon,” is a highlight of Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction on November 8 in Geneva. The gem is the centrepiece of a diamond lariat necklace created by historic Geneva jewellery house, Adler Joailliers. Its estimate is $1.3 million – $2.5 million.
While it is not the largest known Paraiba tourmaline, it the largest to ever be offered at auction, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
Paraiba tourmaline is one of the rarest and most sought-after coloured gems in the world, prized for its intense vivid blue to green colours, which is credited to copper being part of the makeup of the gem.
Paraiba tourmaline was first discovered in the state of Paraíba in northeastern Brazil in the late 1980s, thus earning its name. It was also found in the neighbouring state of Rio Grande do Norte, according to the Gemological Institute of America. In the early 21st century, similarly coloured gem-quality tourmalines were discovered in Nigeria and Mozambique. The gems of Paraíba origin are considered by many to be the most valuable.
The gem being sold by Sotheby’s is of Mozambique origin. Sotheby’s says its “impressive size, superlative clarity, and enchanting turquoise color” are achieved without heat treatment.
Finding a Paraiba tourmaline of this size is extremely rare, the auction house added, noting that “specimens possessing this distinctive color are typically small and possess a significant degree of internal imperfections.”
The Paraiba tourmaline is accompanied by a Bellerophon report brochure and a SSEF report, the latter with an appendix “attesting to its exceptional size and quality,” Sotheby’s said.
Mozambique has emerged as the world’s most productive country for Cuprian (copper-bearing) tourmalines, including the “Paraiba” varieties, a term now applied to exclusively to the greenish-blue specimens of vivid to deep saturation, regardless of where they are mined, according to Sotheby’s.
Adler describes the necklace it crafted for the gem as a “waterfall of shimmering round, marquise- and pear-shaped diamonds weighing over 76 carats.” The family-owned firm calls it “classic with a twist.” The Blue Lagoon necklace is typical of Adler’s signature high jewellery creations, which are a mix of signature craftsmanship and purity of style. The necklace is offered with the original sketch by Adler for its design and GIA reports for a selection of the diamonds.
Jacques Adler founded the Adler jewellery house in 1886 in Istanbul, after finishing his goldsmithing apprenticeship in Vienna. Jacques’ son Edouard joined the business in 1937 and from an early age, Jacques’ two grandsons, Franklin and Carlo, were introduced to the intricacies of the goldsmith’s workshop.
In 1972, Franklin and Carlo moved to Geneva to open a boutique. Franklin’s wife, Leylâ, joined the business in 1980 to head the design team in Rome and Geneva and develop new markets. In 2015, Franklin, Carlo and Leylâ transferred the reins of the family business to the fourth generation, represented by Allen, who serves as chief executive officer overseeing business vision and strategy, and his wife Daisy, who serves as chief operating officer, responsible for creations and operations.