Many books and articles have been written about the beauty of emerald, the most famous member of the beryl family. You can learn about its rich green hue, but the editors found very little information about the extremely rare trapiche emeralds.
Primagem Trapiche emerald
The names of these emeralds come from Trapiche, a mill wheel used in Colombia in South America. PEE·che）。 In areas where these gemstones are often found, people use these wheels to process sugar cane. As you can see in the image below, some of these gemstones resemble spoke wheels with hexagonal cores.
Note the hexagonal core of this trapiche emerald, which is typical of emerald growth.
Note, however, that not all of these gemstones have a hexagonal “center”. Some enthusiasts believe that trapiche emeralds from one mine show cores, while those from another mine do not. Based on my research and conversations with dealers, the presence or lack of a core doesn’t seem to indicate a source.
Also, keep in mind that other gemstone species – such as ruby, sapphire and aquamarine – may come in rare trapiche shapes.
Are Trapiche emeralds “star stones”?
Trapiche its star-shaped appearance, this unique “spoke” pattern is not the case of asterism (hereinafter referred to as the “starstone” effect). However, trapiche emeralds may show a cat’s eye effect. Parallel growth tubular inclusions can form a cat’s eye in the “pie-shaped” part and, rarely, the length of the entire trapiche emerald. Professional gemstones can orient and cut these gemstones to present this effect.
Trapiche emerald - cat's eye
How are Trapiche emeralds formed?
During the formation of emerald crystals, black carbon impurities may enter the gemstone mixture. Due to the hexagonal crystal structure of emeralds, these impurities may fill the crystal junctions, forming a six-point radial pattern. In some dabigche emeralds, inclusions of albite, quartz, carbonaceous material, or feldspar may outline the hexagonal emerald core. From there, they extend in the form of spokes that divide the surrounding emerald material into six trapezoidal sections.
Trapiche Emerald - somewhere in the rainbow collection
The central tapered emerald core first grows in hydrothermal conditions, but the authors found that if these conditions slow down or even stop for a while, impurities can enter the mixture. As growing conditions are restored, both emerald and albite may form.
While the hexagonal prisms of the core crystals can maintain uniform growth, producing pure emeralds, albite fills the area between the prismatic faces that grow from the edges. This resulted in six clear emeralds and six combinations, mainly albite and some emeralds. Thus, the trapiche emerald’s central core and six surrounding trapezoidal sections form a single, non-twin crystal.
Trapiche emerald - seedless
Trapiche emeralds can become very large and may even weigh up to a few grams.
The source of Trapiche emeralds
It has long been thought that only Colombia produced dabuchi emeralds in the Muzo and Peñas Blancas mines, but these gemstones are also found in Brazil. In addition, a light gray-green beryl weighing 13.74 carats with a Dabigche-like structure was found in Madagascar.
Trapiche emerald treatment
Tourists who recently visited Colombian mines reported selling apparently treated natural materials. Keep in mind that emeralds are usually treated with various treatments and enhancements, while trapiche emeralds are usually oiled or impregnated with epoxy.
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