COMMENTARY – Storytelling gives the unique essence of a gemstone


By David Brough 

To sell a fabulous gemstone these days, you have to tell its story.

The story is a key part of what differentiates one stone from another.

It is worth investing time and trouble researching an extraordinary gemstone’s story, its journey from mine to finger, to add to the joy and romance of its purchase, perhaps months or years later, in the jeweller’s store.

Digital trading platform Gembridge fully understands the importance of telling a gemstone’s story and its listings of magnificent stones, including rare Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds and Tanzanites, provide intricate details of a stone’s journey.

In the words of respected gemmologist Kenneth Scarratt, who manages ICA GemLab which appraises Gembridge-listed stones in Bangkok: “Origin determination is not just about compliance. It is about telling the story.” 


A Tanzanite’s story 

Gembridge’s listings include lot 19, an exceptional 21.09-carat “no heat” Tricolour Tanzanite, purchased, after lunch, at a lodge in Arusha, Tanzania. 

A local broker, connected to the largest trader of Tanzanites, recognised Tony Brooke, who is now Gembridge’s Chairman and is known for his extensive personal collection of fabulous stones, and approached him.

The stone was placed on a pure white tablecloth. It was a lovely afternoon, with beautiful natural light that caught all three colours.

In less than 10 minutes, the deal was done.

In a single rotation, you can see pinkish, yellowish and orange colours. In particular, the pink is delightful, and the orange in the background is captivating.


Superbly cut, with absolutely no extinctions, it is a world-class and extremely rare collector’s stone.


The tale of a rare greenish-blue Tanzanite 

Gembridge’s lot 18, an unheated 27.29-carat greenish-blue tanzanite, is extremely rare.

It was bought in a buying office on the gem wholesale street in Arusha, Tanzania: one of the most remarkable pieces that the trader had ever seen.


It was amongst a small pocket of stones that had been discovered. The green and blue colours were so saturated that the supplier decided not to put it into the oven with the usual stones.

“The rarity comes from the size, colour combination and the fact that it’s no-heat,” said Tony Brooke, who purchased the stone.

“The cut is also really beautiful and there are no extinctions or enhancements of any kind.

“Displaying a flash of green and blue when rotated, this magnificent stone is a one-off collector’s piece — the likes of which are highly unlikely to be mined in this part of Tanzania again.”

Tony has bought and traded many such stones, helping to create a new market for unheated Tanzanites.


A “True Treasure of Nature”: a 143-carat colour change garnet 

Gembridge’s lot 05, a 143.33-carat colour change garnet, greenish-brown in daylight and a sumptuous red when incandescent light is shone onto it, has been described as “one of nature’s true treasures,” Tony says.

Hewn from a 250-carat piece of rough in Central Tanzania, the largest piece that the mine had found (the mine is no longer producing today), the colour change garnet was originally cut by an American master cutter.

There were originally 3 pieces: 143.33-ct, 65-ct, and 32-ct stones.

The 143.33-ct stone was stuck inside a safe for a year after the owner became incapacitated and no one else knew the combination of the safe.

One of the smaller pieces (32 ct) was sold to a French banker, before it eventually returned to Bangkok.

A regular garnet weighing over 50 carats is rare. A colour change garnet of even greater weight, such as this 143.33-carat example, which displays both Alexandrite and Usambara effects, is extraordinarily rare.


This colour change garnet exhibits only one discreet feather (under a loupe). Under a microscope, an exquisitely formed fingerprint pattern is visible.

The stone was presented to a major museum in America and is still under consideration.


Ruby from an exhausted mine 

Gembridge lot 02, an emerald cut 17.76-carat ruby ring, is a very rare example of the “Lord of Gems”.

Extracted from a mine in the famed Winza district of Tanzania, which is now worked out of similar stones, this ruby is an incredibly rare example.

Purchased in 2011, the one kilo piece of rock from which it came, contained rubies and sapphires — including an absolutely stunning 12-ct padparadscha.

17.76 cts is an exceptional size for a no-heat ruby: more than 5 cts is already rare, so this is extraordinary.

An emerald cut is very rare for a stone of this size.


Swiss and Russian buyers have been drawn to this stone.

The ruby has been set, very empathetically, into a white gold unisex ring, with layers of round brilliants to enhance its appearance.

The stone could also make a fine centerpiece for a woman’s necklace.

Every stone is unique. Just as every story about a stone is unique.