Aquaprase™ - The Discovery of the 21st Century

| 4 min read

Yianni Melas is the epitome of what it means to be an authentic gem explorer. He is said to be responsible for sourcing more rough gemstone material than any other person on the planet, and his career has seen him study and teach at the prestigious GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

Stories of Yianni's maverick teaching style are still fondly told there today, and he is responsible for inspiring the following generation of gemologists. However, his true calling was out in the field.

When Swarovski wanted to branch out into the world of gemstones, they knew there was only one man to help them source these treasures. They turned to Yianni, beginning a working relationship that spanned over a decade. During this period he was responsible for bringing the famed pale pink Sapphire to the market, as well as countless other significant finds.

Likewise, when Lev Leviev ("the King of Diamonds" - a world-renowned Diamond outfit with operations in Angola and South Africa) wanted to open doors in Botswana, they knew that Yianni, due to his life out in the field and reputation among the local communities, was the man to employ. Yianni now resides mainly in New York, allowing him to spend time with his family and focus on his main passion – jewelry design.

Aquaprase™ Rough

The Discovery

Yianni was invited to the office of a local miner in Africa to look at the yield of a particular mine, when he was drawn to a tiny pebble on the side. The pebble wasn't part of the parcel on the table, and Yianni wanted to know its story.

The miners at the site didn't see any particular value in this pebble and told him he could have it. Yianni asked what it was. There were a few opinions in the office. Some thought Opal, others thought Chrysoprase and some thought Chrysocolla. Over the years, people had stumbled on this stone out in the bush, and everyone seemed to have different thoughts on what it was. However, no one had seen any worth in it.

Yianni took this pebble with him and was determined to find its origin. Yianni spent weeks speaking with the local community before finding a small group of miners who felt confident that they could help Yianni locate the source/vein for this stone. Eventually, they discovered the source and what they found confirmed Yianni's faith in this stone's potential.

The Blue Planet

If you put textbook examples of Chrysoprase, Chrysocolla and Aquaprase™ together, they would have their own unique color. Aquaprase™, because of its chromium content, seems to really have a powerful glow and an outstanding color.

The beauty of this gem is that it really is representative of our planet, as Yianni first explained to Steve when he told him about it. Each piece is unique. Some seem to have clouds suspended within if you hold them up to the light, some contain chocolate colors and some more green, some are more blue and others uniformed turquoise.

Yianni at the Mine

This stone is entirely natural, and the lapidarists have such a love/hate relationship with this stone because it is such a hard stone to cut - but the beauty is completely unparalleled. Designers love the inclusions within this stone because they seem to embody our world effortlessly.

Market Trends

Huge designers are now making features of cabochon cut Chrysocolla and Chrysoprase, and Aquaprase™ is really capturing the interest of the gem market. Vogue ran a feature documenting this find in their European magazine in 2014, and since then the world has fallen in love with the captivating charm of this rare and unique discovery.

Aquaprase™ Jewelry

We are honored and privileged to bring you this stunning gemstone and others that Yianni has discovered during his adventures. Look out for regular visits from Yianni to our TV studios, and tune in to hear his incredible stories first hand.


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