In mid 2018 Ezekiel (Zeke) Loftin purchased one of the rarest topaz on the planet. A flawless 80.90 carat, dichroic, Russian Imperial Green topaz, cut from rough discovered in the Old Imperial Mines of Russia.
(above – The dichroic gem changes color, golden green in sun/candle light and a mint green in standard indoor light or shade).
These mines are now locked and closed but had operated for centuries under the Russian czars supplying much of the material for the Russian Imperial Gems. The rough was smuggled out of Russia at great risk in the 20th century. Two pieces of the rough were sold to the Japanese Imperial Jewelry Company who supply gems and make jewelry for the Japanese Royal Family and the last of the rough was cut into this 80 carat, flawless, Imperial green topaz in Europe in 2017. It is believed to be the rarest and surely one of the most beautiful topaz in the world.
It has a name, Zeke Loftin calls it the, “Ekaterina Topaz.”
Collector, Zeke Loftin of Twisted South, purchased the gem and is in his collection to date. Zeke Loftin explains, “People have no idea that over 99% of the topaz on the market, especially blue, is irradiated in nuclear reactors to make it turn a deeper color and/or heated, to enhance color and clarity. The fact that this huge, green topaz is completely untreated, unheated and has not been altered or irradiated make it astronomically rare. Alteration of this gem from rough was limited to a world class cut and polish. Adding to this the rare location and huge risk someone took purchasing and removing this gem from Russia is a story we have been encouraged not to even tell We were asked to withhold known names; with exception of where the other two pieces cut from this rough went, stated prior.
The gem changes color from mint green, to a golden green when viewed in sunlight, or candlelight. Here shown in sunlight streaming through a window.
The original Imperial colors of topaz were green and pink, with some blue. They were called, “Imperial,” because they went directly into the Royal gem collection of Russia though some of the material was gifted to other rulers and almost all were bought up when Russia fell. Tiffany’s auctioned off what remained of the Imperial gems in the early 1900’s. Many of the Imperial pieces were stolen by courtiers and servants and used to flee Russia during the revolution. Huge gems were recut into smaller gems to avoid recognition and jewelry pieces worth fortunes were melted down. Servants even stole gems and sold pieces worth millions of dollars for as little as 50.00; to flee the chaos when the crown fell. The entire royal family was executed, even the children.
Elizabeth, ruled Russia with an iron fist and was responsible for bringing, Catherine the Great (for which the Ekaterina Topaz was named), from Poland to marry her nephew Peter, the last pure descendant of Peter the Great. She owned over 30,000 of these elaborate and bejeweled gowns and that alone kept the Imperial Russian mines running day and night.
People think this happened so long ago, but the Royal family were slaughtered in the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century. So many diamonds were released onto the open market when the Royal Jewels were dispersed that the huge, diamond company, De Beer’s was concerned that diamond prices would crash. The royal crown, covered in diamonds weighed 8 pounds alone. American industrialists and royal families around the world clamored to get hold of pieces of the Russian collection. Tiffany’s, assembled as much as they could of the collection to bring to auction, but even gems within the assembled, catalogued collection by Tiffany’s were disappearing from the auction list. They were speculated to be pre-sold, secretly, for staggering amounts of money prior to auction. Most likely, purchased by an American Industrialist.
Above, you see pieces of green beryl and topaz (Along with enough diamonds to make DeBeers concerned,) from the royal collection. Photos of the Royal Collection, (Much was never recovered and no complete photos of the collection exist), along with correspondence about the missing items during the historic and mysterious Tiffany’s sale of the, Russian Royal gems. Note the true, Imperial Pink Topaz necklace.
Now the term “Imperial Topaz,” has been snapped up as a brand name to sell golden-pink topaz coming out of Brazil, (usually heated), but I assure you, vibrant pink and green Russian topaz held that distinctive title, prior. Golden-pink topaz from brazil can sell for about 2500.00 + per carat (even when heated,) and there is a lot more of this material so you can easily stamp a market price on it. This green topaz of Russian origin, the original imperial topaz is so rare there are no trustworthy auction records to refer to because it is simply unavailable to sell. Most green topaz you may find online and in brick & mortar stores will be treated with dye, mislabeled (Green quartz, chrome diopside, light emerald, glass), irradiated or heated. A search of Russian Green Topaz on Pinterest turned up only chrome diopside, emeralds, green zircon and at the top of Pinterest is the amazing, 80 carat, “Ekaterina,” Imperial Green Topaz; which is listed on Loftin’s company, Chateau Peridot, but given a random price and always marked SOLD, or ON HOLD.
True Imperial topaz. Russian pink, in a necklace from the Russian Imperial Collection.
Loftin was asked why he priced it at 10,000.00 and then marked it SOLD. He replied, “Because I want the world to see it, but I have no interest in selling it now. Certainly not for 10 grand. Hopefully, it will end up in museum, maybe alongside gems from the same mine from the Russian Imperial Collection. We have considered having it monuted into a necklace. It can be given a price but it is truly priceless and with nothing to compare to it on the market this gem is worth what someone would pay for it. To be honest this is as close to priceless as I will probably ever get.
Prior to the Tiffany’s auction of the Royal gem collection.