is pronounced trah-pee-chee with the accent on the second
is the Spanish word for a spoked wheel used to grind sugar cane. This spoked
bears a striking resemblance to the pattern in the very rare "Trapiche
Emeralds". With regards to gems, the term "trapiche"
was originally applied only to this distinct pattern in Emeralds
and much later applied to similar patterns in Rubies,
Sapphires, Quartz and, very rarely, Tourmaline. The
earliest reference to Trapiche Emeralds was in an 1879 French
mineralogical bulletin. Trapiche Emeralds are found only in Colombia at
Coscuez, La Peņa and the famous Muzo mining district.
possibly the rarest of "pattern" gems. Their six
spoke-like carbon "rays" emanating from a hexagonal center with the
areas in between filled with emerald green makes this a unique and unforgetable gem.
examination shows that the trapiche is a single crystal not a twinned
specimen as once thought.
Spinel and Ruby
A relatively new type
of "trapiche" gem has been found in Mogok, Burma. These
new gems are Trapiche Rubies, Sapphires and Spinels. Like Trapiche
Emeralds, these gems feature a stationary six
"spoke" pattern radiating out from the center of the gem. This
pattern is not asterism as in the more common star Rubies and Sapphires.
Unlike Trapiche Emeralds, the Trapiche Rubies and Sapphires
often have white "spokes" instead of the
black carbon spokes of the Trapiche Emeralds. Trapiche
Rubies can vary in color from pale pink to a darker
reddish pink with well defined whitish spokes. Most Trapiche Sapphires are found in light to dark shades of gray
with less defined spokes. Very few Trapiche Sapphires
have a distinct vivid blue and white pattern.
Trapiche Rubies and Sapphires are considered very rare collectors items.
Finer pieces are quickly reaching Trapiche Emerald price ranges.