By Brecken Branstrator
This Midnight Aquamarine ring from Graziela Gems features 4.13 carats of the deep-blue stone accented with 1.6 carats of diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold ($6,650).
I got to see so many beautiful, exceptional gems at all the shows in Las Vegas, but it was on the show floor of Luxury that I saw something that really stuck with me.

On the way to an appointment with a coworker, we stopped by the Graziela Gems booth where they introduced us to a gem they were launching in a new collection--“Denim Aqua,” or, as they’re calling it now, “Midnight Aqua.”

I had seen the gemstone posted on a few other Instagram accounts and was excited to finally view it in person. The stone, sourced from Brazil, is a deep, steely blue, similar to the shades that Santa Maria aquamarine can have but with its own unique coloring like, not surprisingly given its original name, a good pair of blue jeans.

The gemstone isn’t exactly new, but the brand is bringing it to the forefront.

According to designer Graziela Kaufman, the aqua with that particular shade of blue was discovered over 100 years ago in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, an area already known for producing fine quality gemstones.

Its story “sounds more like a legend,” she said, and, I have to say, I don’t disagree.

According to her, the town in which the gemstone was discovered has a large population of armadillos and one day, while an armadillo was digging, he or she left a large pile of dirt on the ground.

When a farmer walked by, he noticed a beautiful blue sparkle in the middle of the dirt, which led to him discovering the deep-blue aquamarine amid the detritus.

“The armadillo has all the credit for finding the denim aqua,” Kaufman said.

The production remains very small because no one has found a vein of the deep-blue aqua. Miners can spend days around the area and only find small quantities from time to time.

“When I saw this aqua a year ago, I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know about it since it was from my native country, Brazil,” Kaufman said, “but then I found out about its history and tiny production, and it all made sense.”

20170717 Denim Aqua 2A pair of 18-karat white gold earrings set with 20.48 carats of Midnight Aquamarine and 6.73 carats of diamonds ($37,600).
Now it would appear she’s got a lock on that small supply. She said she’s very close friends with the miners in the area--working with them to extract it in the most eco-friendly way--so as soon as they find something, she is contacted.

Graziela Gems already has trademarked the names Denim Aqua, Denim Aquamarine, and Midnight Aquamarine because “this magnificent gem deserves to have its own name and identity,” she said.

Kaufman said the price of the material is comparable to the lighter aquamarine we’re used to since they don’t come in large pieces. The largest ever found, according to her, has been about 12 carats.

She designed a 20-piece collection centered on the gemstones that was launched at Luxury by JCK. The debut was a huge success, she said, noting that the entire collection had sold by the third day of the show.

“Thankfully, I have a good amount of gems to work on new pieces and designs to be launched in the next couple of months. I feel very blessed and lucky to be able to work with a part of nature, especially when I’m able to fascinate people with something that they’ve never seen before, like this new color of aquamarine. I can’t wait for what’s coming next.”

I was told that representatives from the Gemological Institute of America also stopped by the Graziela Gems booth at the show to take a look; the company is now working directly with the lab to test the material.

I reached out to GIA for this blog post, but a spokesperson declined to comment since the lab hasn’t yet fully examined it. But from what the Graziela team has told me, they, and many others, are very excited.

No matter what’s to come for this special aquamarine, it’s always fun to stumble on a new gem and just be able to admire it for its beauty.

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