Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Largest Native Maryland Faceted Gemstone in Existence

Editor's note:

Jeff Nagy very kindly provided the stones that are pictured in this post for me to photograph and followed through by forwarding what is to follow. The narrative begins with a basic bulleted description of a cut stone from smoky quartz that he believes to be the largest faceted gemstone cut from Maryland material. His name for it is the "The Clarksville Sultan, "and here is his story. JWS


by Jeff Nagy.


  • Faceting – William Nagy (Rockville, Maryland – Member of the GLMSMC)

  • Gem Material – Smoky Quartz (root beer color, Medium Saturation)

  • Origin of Rough – Clarksville, Maryland

  • 71 facets + 18 girdle facets for a total of 89 facets

  • Weight – 72.5 carats

  • Dimensions – 29.82 mm x 23.36 mm x 18.70 mm.

  • Style – Modified Rectangular Cushion Cut

  • Name of Cut – “The Sultans Seat”

  • li>Designer – John Bailey

    After a few years of investigative work, culminating in 1988, noted Maryland mineral collector Fred Parker, was able to pinpoint the source of fine euhedral quartz crystals reported in the 1930’s by Ostrander and Price in their book, “Minerals of Maryland.” Within a short time of the re-discovery, however, Fred found the site being prepared for a housing development. Fred observed the progress of grading and patiently waited. His persistence paid off when the bulldozers uncovered the unmistaken outline of a decomposing, kaolinized pegmatite. Fred approached the site foreman and asked for permission to dig. Since the machines were leaving this area for a few weeks to concentrate on another section of the site, he was given permission. The rest is history. For the next few weeks, Fred was able to extract dozens of fine euhedral crystals, some root beer colored, some clear, of varying sizes and clarity. A few were the size of Coke Bottles. They are considered to be some of the finest quartz crystal specimens to have ever been found on the east coast.

    Fast forward to the summer of 2008, when I purchased a number of Maryland specimens from Fred’s collection, including a few of the coveted quartz crystals from the 1988 Clarksville find. I brought them home and examined each one carefully. As a faceter, I began to consider cutting one of the smaller crystals. I chose one that was promising; a root-beer colored crystal of approximately 400 carats, terminated on one end. It appeared to be almost flawless. The more I looked at it, the more I hesitated. I just couldn’t bring myself to cut it. So for the next three years it sat on a shelf in my shop.

    By the end of July, 2011, I had finally decided to take the plunge and commit to, what a fellow collector termed, “the act of barbarity.” In that three year interval my father, William Nagy, had become a gemstone faceter, learning the basics from Jim Perkins in Jim’s Ohio studio. So I decided to have dad cut the stone. In mid-August I visited my father, showed him the rough, and specified how I wanted the crystal cut. The center section was to yield the largest stone, a modified cushion cut. The terminated end was to be a round brilliant, executed in whatever variant my father wanted. The other end, where it looked like the crystal had been attached while it was growing, was left to the discretion of my father. By August 31st, dad had finished all three cuts. The results were amazing.

    The largest of the three, which I have named “The Clarksville Sultan,” is what I believe to be, the largest faceted gemstone in existence cut from native Maryland Material. It is a John Bailey design called “The Sultan’s Seat.” Details directions for cutting this design can be found on John Bailey’s website: http://www.gemstoneartist.com/designs/SltnSeat.pdf. It is a modified rectangular cushion cut, which John describes as “not quite an OMNI, but cuts a bit similarly.” It is comprised of 71 facets plus 18 girdle facets, for a total of 89 facets. There are two versions available; one with a keel pavilion, the other an apex pavilion. I opted for the apex pavilion. It was cut on a Facetron machine.

    The workmanship and artistry of the cut is outstanding, with meet-points dead on. The final polish was first done with a Raytech Last-Lap and 100K diamond powder in lamp oil, and then finished-off with a blue Ultra-Lap. The polish is exceptionally fine. It measures 29.82 mm x 23.36 mm x 18.70 mm, and weighs 72.5 carats. The stone is of a rich, light root-beer color with medium color saturation. As the crown facets were being cut one small feather was found. However, it is positioned in a section of the stone where it is not readily noticeable and does not detract from the appearance or performance of the stone, which is quite bright and flashy.

    The second gemstone is a round brilliant, 14.5 carats in weight, measures 16.9 mm, and exhibits the same rich color of its larger brother. The faceting and polish is superb; the final polish accomplished using a blue Ultra-Lap.

    The third stone, a smaller version of “The Sultan’s Seat,” weighs 3.0 carats. Its color is very light brown, not having the deep, rich color of the two larger stones. It measures 7.9 mm x 10.1 mm. The final polish was done with a blue Ultra-lap.

    My father, William Nagy, was taught to facet by Master-Faceter Jim Perkins. Dad’s expertise, patience, and artistry are exhibited in this distinctive gemstone. While not exceptionally large as gemstones go, it does however represent the untapped potential of a State that is not known for producing quality pieces such as this. There is more to come.


    1. Thanks jake. Dad will be very happy when he sees this.

      Jeff Nagy

    2. Jake,

      Just to let your readers know, I'm searching for facet-grade, Maryland Williamsite. We would be willing to cut one stone in return for another piece of roough of the same size and clarity.

      I'm also looking for Maryland-origin faceting rough, under the same arrangements as noted above, for the following species:

      Beryl - any variety

      If anyone is interested in an arrangement like this, I can be reached at JWNagy@comcast.net

      Jeff Nagy

      1. I got some chunk's of Williamsite...big chunk's...have a look @ what I gave to the MGS :)

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