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Smithsonian to unveil largest aquamarine gem

Wednesday - 12/5/2012, 12:17pm  ET

BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The world's largest cut aquamarine gem will soon go on display in its new home at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The museum will unveil the obelisk-shaped Dom Pedro gem Thursday for long-term display. The blue-green crystal was mined in Brazil in the late 1980s and is named for Brazil's first two emperors.

The gem was designed and cut by renowned gem artist Bernd Munsteiner. It stands 14 inches tall and weighs 10,363 carets _ or nearly 5 pounds. Cuts in the reverse faces serve to reflect light within the gem.

National Gem Collection Curator Jeffrey Post says it will become one of the most memorable pieces of the collection.

Businesswoman Jane Mitchell and Jeffery Bland donated the gem to the Smithsonian so it could be publicly displayed.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)