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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


Photo courtesy Bill Barker
Photo by Mia Dixon. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11481-00
Locality Tanzania
Weight 51.29 ct

Purchased with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2014.

Danburite is a transparent to translucent gem and ranges from colorless, to light yellow, or pale pink to light brown in color. It has a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale with a relatively high refractive index, surpassing quartz and rivaling topaz in brilliance.  Danburite was first discovered in 1839 in Danbury, Connecticut by Charles Upham Shepherd, a renowned American mineralogist. The original deposit is now buried under the city of Danbury.  However, it is also found in Russell, NY; Characas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico; Kyushu Island, Japan; Mogok, Burma; Uri, Switzerland; Madagascar and elsewhere. Most of the danburite in today‚Äôs commercial market is from Mexico. This 51.29 carat modified cushion cut gem exhibits an unusual intense golden yellow color.  It is the first danburite from Tanzania in the National Gem Collection. It was found in the Morogoro region in the Uluguru Mountains. Along with the locality, the size and vibrant color of this gem make it an important addition to the collection.



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