Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 8, 2020. Besides being one of the cutest couples at all the gem shows happening now, Azur (I’m obsessed with her stunning Sideshow Bobesque mop of hair) and Jesse McHugh of Azurz gems and minerals (AGTA GemFair Tucson booth no. 101) out of Rhode Island also happen to have one cool backstory on some sweet jelly (top quality) sugalite.
Azur’s onetime importer dad had the opportunity to bring some sugalite from the Wessels mine in South Africa to the States. This was in the 1980s, and the material was mined in the 1970s. But the story is that there was some drama surrounding imports at the time, so Azur’s dad officially imported some old cars—think Jaguars and BMWs—and filled the wheel wells with the stones. He brought in as much as he could, and then, as some dealers tend to do, squirreled away the top 20 percent of the rocks in buckets and sea freight containers for later investment. It’s this old inventory that Azur and her gem-cutting hubs, a U.S. Navy veteran and former journalist, are now sculpting and offering for sale.
Sugalite is a byproduct of titanium and manganese ore mining. When workers hit the vein, they spray painted it white and tried to extract as much as they could. The result of this hit was a large amount of jelly material—“Clean and glowing,” says Azur—as well as bustamite and richterite, which has peach and blue colors, respectively. Prices per carat for their inventory start at $30 triple keystone. Direct message Azur on Instagram account @azurz for purchase.
Fifty-year-old sugalite is top quality and available per carat starting at $30 triple keystone; direct message Azur on Instagram account @azurz for purchase.
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