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  • Angela Cisneros

The Largest in the World!

Gemstone mining has been happening in Brazil for centuries and mostly occurring in the state of Minas Gerais. You will find rich emerald, aquamarine, alexandrite, and topaz deposits that have made their country famous in the gemstone and mining world. One of the most famous gemstones which is now on display in the Smithsonian, is the Dom Pedro Aquamarine!



When a mineral deposit is found in Brazil in an area where no exploration license has been filed yet, prospectors, or garimpeiros, can mine in the area using only manual tools. Around late1980's, three garimpieros found an aquamarine crystal weighing about 100 pounds and more than three feet in length which they accidently dropped causing it to break into three parts! The owner of the mine took possession of the crystal and sold two of the pieces but kept the top portion behind his bed. News of this incredible crystal came to a third-generation dealer and broker by the name of Henn.


Henn grew up in Idar-Oberstein, Germany which has been a center of gemstone cutting in Europe since the 18th century. When Henn saw the sixty-pound crystal, he was enthralled and had visions of seeing this crystal cut to display its beauty and keeping the size as big as possible. After Henn purchased the magnificent crystal, he tasked his business partner and lifelong friend, Bernd Munsteiner, design and cut the wondrous crystal.


Bernd Munsteiner took his time planning how to cut the big crystal seeing it more like Michaelangelo in that he knew there was a sculpture inside waiting to be seen. Even while cutting, Munsteiner took his time, only cutting for 2 hours a day so that he always had fresh eyes and hands. The obelisk shape retained much of the original crystal, and he cut negative cuts on the backside like starbursts to bring out its charm, but it is the beauty of the color that keeps people in awe. The Dom Pedro is named after two Brazilian emperors, Pedro I and Pedro II, and is the world’s largest cut aquamarine!


In 1996, just three years after the Dom Pedro was unveiled, the original mine owner who still had part ownership in the Dom Pedro with Henn and Munsteiner needed money and wanted to sell it. After a series of offers, Jane Mitchell and her husband, Jeffery Bland, purchased the Dom Pedro because after seeing it out of its glass enclosure she couldn’t forget the incredible color and light that radiates from the obelisk. They didn’t buy it for themselves but for lovers of gemstones and geology to continue to be inspired. So, in 2012, the couple donated it the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC where you can be inspired by it too.


While I can’t get you the Dom Pedro, I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 23 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Book your FREE appointment with me today! www.angelacisneros.com/book-appointment


*Photo credit: The Washington Post

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