The gem described as mind-boggling in pre-Basel world press is just that: a 206.09-carat Colombian emerald of exceptional color and clarity, purchased by Bayco LLC from a private collector earlier this year. Giacomo Hadjibay, a co-owner of the familyowned, New York-based jewelry company, said the gem, dubbed “The Imperial Emerald,” is the most exceptional stone his father Amir ever has purchased, an incredible statement considering Amir Hadjibay first began working in jewelry in the 1950s.
“I think the stone speaks for itself,” he said. The Imperial is by no means the largest cut emerald in the world. But, Giacomo said, it is the largest of its quality in terms of clarity, color, brilliance and cut, and is untreated. It was unearthed at the Muzo mines, which are located at the foothills of the eastern range of the Andes mountains in Colombia and are known for producing the best emeralds in the world.
It was Colombian emeralds that the great Moguls of India coveted when they ruled the country, swapping their diamonds and gold with the Spanish for the green gems. Giacomo and his brother Moris have known of the existence of this emerald, which belonged to a European collector, for the past 35 or 40 years and always told the collector if he ever wanted to sell, they were willing to buy.
The GUbelin report, called a Gem Portrait, marks the first that the Swiss laboratory has done for an emerald, Giacomo said. Nobody is saying how much they paid for the stone or how much they expect it to sell for at this point. The plan for the Imperial Emerald, for now, is perhaps to lend it to a museum for a time or display it around the world. One thing is clear: the family that owns Bayco, which includes Moris’ son Marco, isn’t looking to sell the stone they waited decades to acquire just yet. Giacomo said they brought the stone to Baselworld to show it to the world, the first stop on what may be a global tour for the 200-carat-plus gem. “This is the king of all emeralds,” Marco said.