The Gleim Carved Emerald
Gleim the Jeweler is proud owner of the world’s largest carved emerald, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1982. The emerald, discovered at Carnaiba, the emerald-producing province of Bahia, Brazil, in August 1974, made its journey to Palo Alto via a local gem trader.
When Arthur Gleim laid eyes on the rough piece of emerald, he had to have it. It was then hand carried to Hong Kong for carving, where a team of four carvers were commissioned to sculpt the design of Tao Heaven. The style is that of the a large jade carvings done in eighteenth century China, during the mid-Ch’ing period, with oversized human and animals figures, as well as houses, temples, and waterfalls cascading down the height of the emerald.
The original weight of the emerald before carving was over 140,000 carats translating to 62 pounds. Its dimensions were approximately 16 1/2" high, 14" wide, and 7" deep. The overall dimensions did not change much with the carving, but the final weight did! After being sculpted the carving now weighs 86,000 carats, or roughly 38 pounds. The excess material ended up as dust on the studio floor, as it was ground away as the artists carved into the body of the emerald to define the figures and structures as envisioned by Arthur Gleim.
There are more than thirty human figures throughout the various levels of the carving; each time you look, you notice more detail. The material, although not gem-quality emerald, makes a spectacular carving, and is always on display at our store at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. Please visit and also see our selection of estate and vintage jewelry and watches as well as our jewelry collections.