Guernsey’s, the New York City-based auction house, renowned for conducting extraordinary auctions such as – the largest auction in history, the sale of one million items from the super liner United States, the fastest passenger ship ever built; the sale of vintage cars and artwork from the Soviet Union; pre-Castro Cuban cigars; the 3-million-dollar baseball and the sale of wildly diverse artworks and artifacts from the collections of renowned world figures and celebrities such as John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Princess Diana, Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, John Coltrane, Dick Clark, Mickey Mantle and the Beatles – has announced the sale of another rare and unique collection titled the “Marcial de Gomar Collection” on April 25, 2017 at the Americas Society at 680 Park Avenue, New York.
While the viewing of the collection takes place on Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 1 PM to 6 PM and Monday, April 24, 2017 and Tuesday, April 25, 2017 from 12 Noon to 7 PM, at the same venue, the live auction will take place from 7 PM on wards on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Online bidding will take place simultaneously at www.liveauctioneers.com. Absentee bidding can be placed via e-mail, mail or telephone.
The “Marcial de Gomar Collection” consists of more than 20 loose emeralds, both cut and rough, 13 pieces of emerald jewelry and a selection of rare gold and silver coins. The spectacular collection was put together by Manuel Marcial de Gomar, author, lecturer, consultant/expert on emeralds and conch pearls, innovative jewelry designer and the founder of the Florida-based Emeralds International LLC. during a long career of 55 years first in the jungles of Colombia, beginning with the exploration and mining of emeralds in the Gachalá – Somondoco – Chivor region of the Guavio river northeast of Bogotá, Colombia in 1955, and subsequently as founder of Emeralds of Colombia Ltd. first all-emerald retail store outside of Colombia in Freeport, Bahamas, with a subsidiary store in Nassau, Bahamas in 1964, and later establishing Emeralds International Inc. in 1969 in Lahaina Hawaii which was eventually moved to Key West, Florida in 1980.
In the 1980s Manuel Marcial de Gomar was selected from many experts by Mel Fisher, the renowned treasure hunter and founder of the non-profit initiative known as the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and Museum, to serve as independent appraiser of all emeralds recovered from the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” the richly laden Spanish treasure galleon, and her sister ship the “Santa Margarita,” that sank in a hurricane off the coast of Florida on September 6, 1622, about 35 miles (56 km) west of Key West. While the wreckage of the “Santa Margarita” was salvaged by Mel Fisher’s salvage teams in 1980, the discovery and salvage of the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” took another five years. Salvage operations carried out on the wreckage of “Santa Margarita” brought out two bronze cannons, 56 gold bars, 18 silver bars, 10,000 silver coins, 180 feet of gold chains, and a nine-inch gold plate. On July 20, 1985, the “Atocha mother lode” which included 40 tons of gold and silver, 100,000 Spanish silver coins, gold coins, Colombian emeralds, 1,000 silver bars and gold and silver artifacts, were discovered by a team in a salvage ship led by Mel Fisher’s son Kane Fisher.
Hence, the “Marcial de Gomar Collection” consists of not only extraordinary emeralds put together by the renowned connoisseur, collector and dealer of Colombian emeralds when he was based in Colombia, but also a selection of fine emeralds recovered from the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” and Santa Margarita,” which he received from Mel Fisher as payment for his expert services. The Collection also feature apart from an unprecedented assemblage of Atocha emeralds, a number of historic gold and silver coins from the 1622 Spanish treasure galleons.
While Emeralds International Inc., the company founded by Manuel Marcial de Gomar is now being run by members of his family, it is Manuel Marcial de Gomar’s lifelong personal collection that is being offered for sale at Guernsey’s auction on April 25, 2017.
Top lot of the sale will be Lot 16, the 887-carat “La Gloria” one of the largest museum-quality emeralds in the world, originating from the world renowned Muzo mine, with its classic blue-green hue and characteristic matrix material, and not only larger than the 858-carat Gachala Emerald from the Gachala mine, presently in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History but also the 632-carat “Patricia Emerald” from the Chivor mine and now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Hence, the 887-carat “La Gloria” is undoubtedly the largest rough gem-quality Colombian emerald in the United States. “La Gloria” had remained in the “Marcial de Gomar Collection” for a long time and this is the first time the enormous rough gem-quality emerald is appearing in the market. A preliminary estimate of US$ 4 to US$5 million is placed on this enormous rough emerald. The collector, Manuel Marcial de Gomar feels that the rough emerald could produce an approximately 400-carat polished stone, but believes that the stone should not be cut and preserved as it is, probably in a museum. According to Manuel de Gomar there’s a little piece of calcite at one end of the crystal, which is a tip to its provenance. “It tells you what country it comes from, what mine it comes from. All that is very significant. I wouldn’t want it to be cut. I’d like for it to be kept as is. It should be in a state museum somewhere.” The stone is named for a deceased attorney who represented de Gomar in the litigation over the rightful ownership of the Atocha wreckage. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Another highlight of the sale is Lot 19, a rare and unique emerald showing asterism, known as the “Marcial de Gomar Star Emerald.” The 25.86-carat emerald of Madagascar origin, is rare because the phenomenon of asterism is extremely rare in emeralds. In fact, according to some emerald experts the 25.86-carat “Marcial de Gomar Star Emerald” is the largest and eleventh known recorded specimen to date. It is unique because it is not only the largest star emerald on record but also a double-sided cabochon star emerald unlike other star emeralds which are only single-sided cabochons. A preliminary estimate of US$ 2 – 3 million is placed on this extremely rare emerald. Selected in 2001, from a parcel of rough emeralds purchased from an African emerald dealer from Madagascar in 1977, Marcial de Gomar recognized that the rough emerald might exhibit some chatoyancy, possibly in the form of a cat’s eye. He sent the emerald for cutting and polishing by his longtime emerald master cutter, with instructions that it should be cut as a double-cabochon instead of the typical single dome cabochon. When completed the cut and polished emerald was remarkable, in that it did not exhibit the typical cat’s eye phenomenon, but had a play of light that moved in all directions under the same lighting conditions. Marcial, having never seen a star emerald before and the gem’s chatoyant properties not showing a clear star, assumed that the stone was probably displaying an unusual form cat’s eye phenomenon, and decided to place it away safely in his personal safe, until an opportunity was available for the stone to be re-examined by an expert gemologist. The opportunity to re-examine the stone did come, but only after nine years in 2010, during which period the stone lay forgotten in the safe. The opportunity was created when a decision was made to assemble a one-of-a-kind collection, marking 60 years of Marcial’s life in the emerald and precious gem industry. During the next three years as the collection was being assembled, the emerald was closely re-examined by Martin Fuller, the renowned gemologist and appraiser of Martin Fuller & Associates, whose enormous experience included the examination of some famous gems such as the Hope diamond in the Smithsonian’s NMNH. Having realized that the emerald displayed asterism which only showed up under specific lighting conditions, Fuller recommended that the emerald be sent to the GIA for identification. Finally on July 16, 2013 GIA certified that the emerald was indeed a rare Star Emerald, one of the largest recorded to date of perhaps less than a dozen star emeralds ! The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Lot 21, titled “Nine Pillars of Andes,” is another significant loose emerald lot, consisting of nine loose rough Muzo/Atocha emeralds weighing in descending order from the heaviest to the least heavy, 26.72 carats, 15.54 carats, 11.65 carats, 9.82 carats, 7.77 carats, 6.68 carats, 6.45 carats, 4.56 carats and 2.50 carats. Total weight of the nine emeralds is 91.69 carats. These emeralds were derived from the approximately seven pounds of rough emeralds recovered from the wreckage site of the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha.” The emeralds were identified by Manuel Marcial de Gomar to have originated from the renowned Muzo emerald mines of Colombia. Nine Pillars of the Andes recalls the nine Spanish Pillars of Hercules, the vertical markers set upon the twisting ocean on each side of the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea depicted on the Spanish coinage. Each of the nine rough emeralds is accompanied by Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC, Certificate of Authenticity and the largest 26.72-carat emerald is additionally accompanied by a GIA report.
Lots 5, 10 and 7, titled respectively the Tears of Fura, Reina del Mar and Muzo Marino are the other significant loose emerald lots. Lot 5 – “The Tears of Fura” refer to a well-matched pair of tear-drop shaped Colombian emeralds from the Muzo mines, with a total weight of 95.51 carats and a preliminary estimate of US$ 3 – 4 million. The name of the stones honors the two Colombian mountain peaks of Fura and Tena, considered sacred by the Muzo people, believed to be the progenitors of the human kind, Fura representing the first woman and Tena, the first man. According to Muzo belief after the demise of Fura her tears became emeralds that took on the green of the jungles and the fire of the lightning bolt of the Andes. Unlike other precious and semi-precious stones emeralds usually occur in smaller sizes, and hence a fine quality emerald from 1 to 3 carats is considered quite large for emeralds. Emeralds usually do not occur in large crystals, and when they do, they often lack a deep green color or have little or no fire. Apart from this the loss involved in transferring a large emerald crystal into a gem-quality emerald-cut emerald is as high as 66%. The loss will be even greater if one desires a round or a pear-shaped/teardrop-shaped cut. Hence, the loss involved in creating not just one but two matching teardrop-shaped emeralds must have been quite enormous, and in this sense the well-matched pair of tear-drop shaped emeralds in the “Marcial de Gomar Collection” is indeed a very rare occurrence that may take many centuries to replicate. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Lot 10, titled “Reina del Mar” (Queen of the Sea) is a befitting name for the 4.39-carat, oval-cut Muzo emerald initially discovered between 1620 and 1622 by the Spaniards at the Muzo emerald mine, and re-discovered in 1985 from the wreckage of “Nuestra Senora de Atocha.” The 13.63-carat rough Muzo emerald from which the 4.39-carat, oval-cut Reina del Mar was created in 1997, was received by Marcial de Gomar as payment for services rendered to Mel Fisher, and remained buried at the bottom of the sea for 363 years. Hence, the name “Queen of the Sea” is quite appropriate for this rare, oval-cut, 4.39-carat Muzo emerald. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report and Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC, Certificate of Authenticity.
Lot 7, titled “Muzo Marino” (Muzo marine) refers again to the dual discoveries, first in the Muzo mine between 1620-1622 and later in 1985 from the wreckage of “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” that laid buried in the sea for 363 years. The “Muzo Marino” is a 2.98-carat, elongated rectangular emerald-cut Muzo emerald, cut from a 12.01-carat rough emerald crystal retrieved from the wreckage of “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” after 363 years. This lot is also accompanied by a GIA report and Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC, Certificate of Authenticity.
Among the 13 pieces of emerald jewelry in the “Marcial de Gomar Collection” are necklaces, rings and a stunning pair of emerald and diamond earrings. Significant necklaces in the collection are “Corona de Muzo,” “The Empress of Spain” and “Conquistadora.” Corona de Muzo assigned Lot 4 is an emerald and diamond, 22k and 18k yellow gold necklace. The necklace consists of a 22k yellow gold link chain and a 22k and 18k yellow gold pendant, designed by Marcial de Gomar. The centerpiece of the pendant, is a 24.34-carat, emerald-cut Muzo emerald from the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha,” known as the “Corona de Muzo” emerald, which is the largest emerald-cut emerald from the Atocha galleon, cut from a 64.46-carat rough Muzo emerald recovered from the wreckage. This emerald with a deep saturated green color was featured in the GIA’s first article on the Atocha galleon published in 1989. The design of the pendant and link chain has elements resembling jewelry of ancient Spanish royalty. Apart from the 24.34-carat, emerald-cut, “Corona de Muzo” mounted as the centerpiece of the pendant, five smaller round-cut emeralds are placed at symmetrical positions on its periphery. A crown and a cross surmounts the pendant, placed above three baguette-cut diamonds. Two circular-cut diamonds are placed on either side of the baguette-cut diamond mounting. The mounting above the horizontally placed rectangular emerald-cut, “Corona de Muzo” emerald bears the words “PLUS ULTRA” meaning “FURTHER BEYOND” a motto dating to the time of Charles 1 of Spain, capturing the spirit of the era of Spanish conquest and discovery. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report and Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC, Certificate of Authenticity.
Lot 15, titled “The Empress of Spain” is a 20-inch (50.8 cm) 14k and 18k yellow gold, emerald and diamond necklace designed by Marcial de Gomar, and set with personally selected fine natural Colombian emeralds directly from the Muzo region of Colombia. The design of the necklace is inspired by a fusion of Spanish and Native American Art. The centerpiece of the necklace is a 9.48-carat, fine quality, tear-drop cabochon emerald surrounded by prong-set round brilliant-cut diamonds, surmounted by three baguette-cut diamonds. A tear-drop cabochon emerald is suspended from this centerpiece. On either side of this centerpiece is an S-shaped motif to the right and left, also set with round brilliant-cut diamonds. Four more tear-drop cabochon pendants are suspended from symmetrical positions in the S-shaped motifs on either side. The total weight of the five suspended emeralds is 12.76 carats. Total number of round brilliant-cut diamonds in the centerpiece and the S-shaped motifs is 74. Another 60 round brilliant-cut diamonds are mounted on the chain of the necklace. Total weight of 134 round brilliant-cut diamonds and 3 baguette-cut diamonds is estimated to be 7.44 carats. The 20-inch chain of the necklace is also prong-set with 120 round-cut emeralds, with total weight of 7.25 carats. The 18k white gold clasp behind is set with a 2.03-carat, oval cabochon cat’s eye emerald, framed by 16 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing a total of 0.50 carats. Total combined weight of emeralds and diamonds in the necklace is approximately 39 carats. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Lot 20, titled “Conquistadora” is a versatile piece of jewelry designed by Marcial de Gomar, made of 18k white gold and mounted with pear-shaped and emerald-cut Muzo emeralds and round brilliant-cut diamonds, which can be worn either as a splendid tiara or converted into a breathtaking fringe necklace. The design and manufacture of the convertible tiara took more than one year to complete due to the delicate and complicated nature of the manually executed task, apart from the time taken to acquire the emeralds from Muzo and Chivor regions of Colombia, and cut and polish them into desired matching shapes. The tiara/necklace features 12 emerald-cut emeralds and 23 pear-shaped/tear-drop shaped cabochon emeralds totaling 14.27 carats. It also features 889 round brilliant-cut diamonds of color grade F to G and clarity grade VS to SI, totaling 7.86 carats. The lot is accompanied by a GIA certificate.
The fringe necklace is made up of a single layer of round brilliant-cut diamonds mounted close to one another in the front and from which arises 23 fringes. The central median fringe which is also the largest is mounted with two emerald-cut emeralds, with a large pear-shaped cabochon emerald suspended from it. The pear-shaped emerald is surrounded by a layer of round brilliant-cut diamonds. There are eleven fringes on either side of the median fringe. These fringes are of two types. Five of the fringes are similar in design to the median fringe, but are mounted with only one emerald-cut emerald and terminates in a pear-shaped/tear-drop shaped cabochon emerald surrounded by round brilliant-cut diamonds. The remaining six fringes are linear in design and are mounted only with a single pear-shaped emerald at its terminal end, also surrounded by round brilliant-cut diamonds. The two types of fringes alternate with one another. The five fringes are slightly longer than the six linear fringes. Both types of fringes gradually decrease in length from the median fringe towards the rear. The rear of the necklace is made up of only a band of white gold. The rear band can be folded and tucked below the diamond-studded band converting the fringe necklace to a tiara, in which the fringes become spikes rising from the upper diamond-studded band.
Among the remarkable rings in the collection are the “Cat’s Eye Dream,” the “Luz de las Marquesas” and the “Flor de Muzo. The “Cat’s Eye Dream” is Lot 11 in the collection. This exquisitely crafted 18k white gold ring, mounted with 14 Colombian cat’s eye emeralds is not only unique but also an exceptionally rare collector’s item. The ring is unique as the 14 emeralds are arranged to form a cluster ring, designed as a floret centered around a single 0.20-carat colorless round brilliant-cut diamond. The cat’s eye emeralds are arranged in two whorls, representing the petals – an outer whorl of five smaller pear-shaped cabochon emeralds and an inner whorl of five larger elongated oval-shaped cabochon emeralds above it. While the elongated emeralds of the upper whorl are clearly visible with their median cat’s eye, the smaller pear-shaped emeralds of the alternating outer and lower whorl are partially hidden by the larger emeralds on top. Two more emeralds are mounted on either side of the cluster, on the shoulders of the ring. The unique feature of this cluster ring is that under proper lighting conditions the chatoyancy of most of the emeralds are clearly visible. The exceptional rarity of this cat’s eye emerald ring lies in the fact that finding a single cat’s eye Colombian emerald is in itself a difficult task due to the extreme rarity of such emeralds. However, the fact that Manuel Marcial de Gomar, emerald miner/expert and innovative jewelry designer was able to put together not just one such extremely rare emerald but a collection of 14 such emeralds is an extremely rare achievement which may not be replicated in the forseeable future. In this sense the name “Cat’s Eye Dream” is indeed appropriately chosen for this collector’s dream. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Lot 23 in the collection is the “Flor de Muzo” (Flower of Muzo) emerald and diamond platinum ring. The centerpiece of this platinum ring, mounted on the head/gallery of the ring, is an exceptional quality bezel-set 2.19-carat square emerald-cut Muzo emerald, the world standard for the finest quality emeralds. Two accenting Asscher-cut diamonds of E-F color and VVS clarity of total weight 2.01 carats, are bezel-set and mounted on the head/gallery of the ring, on either side of the central emerald. Small melee size round brilliant-cut diamonds of total weight 1.10 carats are pave-set on the shoulders and sides of the bridge of the ring. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report.
Luz de las Marquesas – The Light of the Marquesas – is another significant 22k yellow gold emerald ring in the “Marcial de Gomar Collection.” The ring is loop-set with an exceptional 2.03-carat round-cut Muzo emerald recovered and cut from a rough emerald from the wreckage of the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha.” The emerald mounted at the center of the square-shaped gallery/head of the yellow gold ring is secured by two gold loops on either side of the round-cut emerald. The dark green color of the emerald is further accented by the bright yellow color of the ring. No other gemstones are mounted on this ring, but the yellow gold ring is accented by circular engravings on the gallery and shoulders. The design of the ring is inspired by the classic Spanish Mudejar style and architecture. The Mudegar architecture evolved during the great civilizing advancements, when for 700 years Islamic Spain was a light to the world, prior to Queen Isabela. This fusion of Christian and Islamic art evolved from a pattern of religious and racial harmony that fostered new thinking. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report and Mel Fisher’s Treasures LLC, Certificate of Authenticity.
The stunning pair of emerald and diamond earrings in the collection is assigned Lot No. 2 and titled “Mariposas de Muzo” the “Butterflies of Muzo.” By naming this stunning pair of emerald and diamond earrings “Mariposas de Muzo” Marcial de Gomar has appropriately compared them to the spectacular beauties of nature in the Muzo region of Colombia, the butterflies of Muzo. Each of the pair of platinum and 18k yellow gold earrings is set with a fine quality square emerald-cut Muzo emerald, as its centerpiece highlighted by 8 Asscher-cut diamonds on the sides of the square and 4 oval-cut diamonds at the corners of the square. The emeralds are prong-set on 18k yellow gold and the diamonds prong set on platinum. Total weight of emeralds 8.97 carats. The diamonds are E – F color, VS clarity, and have a total weight of 4.39 carats. The earrings have omega style post and clip backs.
Lots 29 to 39 are a selection of rare gold and silver coins, seven of them retrieved from the wreckage of the 1715 Spanish Fleet, one from the 1784 Spanish El Cazador wreck, one a Chinese commemorative coin and one an 1883 Hawaiian coin . These lots are in order from lots 29 to 39 as follows :-
Lot 29 – Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold approximately 4-sided Spanish coin minted in Mexico. Weight 27g.
Lot 30 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold approximately 4-sided Spanish coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Mexico during the reign of Philip V. Weight 26.2g.
Lot 31 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Doubloon – 22 carat gold approximately 4-sided Spanish two escudo coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Mexico during the reign of Philip V. Weight 6.77g.
Lot 32 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Doubloon – 22 carat gold Spanish two escudo polygonal-shaped coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Santa Fe de Bogota. Weight 6.72g.
Lot 33 – Chinese Commemorative Coin – One of the 780 coins minted in 91.66% pure gold to commemorate an exhibiton of archaeological finds in the People’s Republic of China in April 1978, that entered the Marcial de Gomar Collection after being won in a Chinese National Lottery having entered it at the invitation of a business associate Chow Sang Sang.
Lot 34 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold oval-shaped Spanish coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Mexico during the reign of Philip V. Weight 27.0g.
Lot 35 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold oval-shaped Spanish coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Lima during the reign of Philip V. Double Struck on Reverse. Weight 27.1g.
Lot 36 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold polygonal-shaped Spanish coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Mexico during the reign of Philip V. Weight 26.2g.
Lot 37 – 1715 Fleet Spanish Eight Escudo Coin – 22 carat gold rectangular Spanish coin from the wreck of the 1715 fleet, minted in Mexico. Weight 26.9g.
Lot 38 – El Cazador Silver Reales Coin – Silver Spanish Reales coin from the 1784 El Cazador wreck, minted in Mexico during the reign of Carlos III.
Lot 39 – King Kalakawa Coin – An 1883 silver one dollar Hawaiian coin issued during the reign of King Kalakawa (1874 – 1891), purchase by Marcial during a trip to Hawaii from a coin dealer in Lahaina, Hawaii.