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Journey to the stone Podcasts

Hello, I’m Don Kogen, and I am a gem hunter. I started hunting gemstones when I was 13 years old living alone in Thailand. Since then I have discovered numerous world records while circling the earth on the hunt for the rarest most beautiful jewels in the world. I am incredibly grateful that I discovered my passion at such a young age and I want to share that passion with you. Each week I invite you to join me as I showcase a gemstone discovery or interview an expert from our field. I will share trends in the market, details to look for if you are collecting and of course my own personal journey to the stone. We will celebrate the beauty of Mother Natures greatest work here together every week. 



Episode 1. Paraiba Tourmaline - Takes the center stage on the world market. 

World renowned gem hunter Don Kogen discusses the rare, evocative Paraiba tourmaline. Named after the state of Paraíba in Brazil, where much of the stone is found, this tourmaline is one of nature’s rarest geological phenomena. It is also found in Mozambique and Nigeria. Due to unusually high copper concentrations, the luminous gemstone has a rich, vivid coloration that ranges from emerald greens to neon blues to deep violets. Paraiba tourmaline is one of the most expensive gemstones today — and it has taken the world market by storm. Listen to our narrator share his personal journey with the Paraiba tourmaline, including anecdotes about discovering it in Mozambique, seeing it at the Tucson Gem Show, and making a key connection about its origin when viewing a map of the supercontinent Pangaea.

Episode 2. Diamond - the world’s most celebrated gemstone.

Gem Hunter Don Kogen explores one of the most storied gems in history: the diamond. He takes us to the Golconda region in India, source of famous specimens such as the Koh-i-Noor, Orlov, Hope, Wittelsbach-Graff, and Dresden Diamonds; the Letseng Mine in Lesotho, Debmarine Mine in Namibia, and Venetian Mine in South Africa; the Ekati Mine in Canada; and, most importantly, the Jwaneng Mine in Botswana and the Argyle Mine in Australia. In addition, he discusses the nuances of the most sought-after types: D Flawless and pink diamonds.

Episode 3. Ruby - one of the most important market forces today.

Gem Hunter Don Kogen discusses the Ruby. He takes us through the changing market demand for the beautiful crimson gem, starting with the Sunrise Ruby, which broke the world record for a colored gemstone when it surpassed 7 digits per carat at auction. Through his personal stories about gem hunting in Mozambique, Thailand, Tanzania, and Burma, Kogen illuminates the history of ruby mining and its influence on the world market today, and ends with salient points regarding the discernment of quality in rubies of different origin.

Episode 4. Sphene - a rare gemstone that has more dispersion than a diamond.

Don Kogen world renowned Gem Hunter discusses Sphene, a rare gemstone that has more dispersion than a diamond. He takes us through the remote Kola Peninsula of Russia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Brazil in the journey to understand Sphene. Sphene contains a rare earth element, cerium, in its crystal structure, which combines with its titanite to create a vivid luster. Learn all this and more — including how the Gem Hunter named his son after sphene — in this episode.

Episode 5. Tourmaline - The gem with Superheroes in the Family

What is the Superman of tourmalines? What about the Wonder Woman? Learn the answer to these questions and more in this episode of Journey to the Stone, where Gem Hunter Don Kogen discusses tourmaline, the “gem with superpowers.”

Santa maria Aquamarine podcast

Episode 6. Aquamarine - the brother of the world-famous Emerald. 

Aquamarine, the brother of Emerald is discussed in this week’s podcast with Don Kogen. Aquamarine goes back historically hundreds of years. If you look at the scriptures, you'll see that Aquamarine is referenced back to the Maharajas of India. Aquamarines has been discovered in Brazil, the Himalayan belt and Africa. Listen to this week’s story and find out why no one wants “Black Rain”, and everyone wants Santa Maria.

Demantoid Podcast

Episode 7. Demantoid Garnet - from Fabergé to modern day, capturing the imaginations of collectors.

What do Fabergé and Don Kogen have in common? Demantoid Garnet. Just as Fabergé popularized Demantoid Garnet among royals and czars, Kogen influenced its modern market: he discovered the one-off Madagascar Demantoid deposit and sold the lion’s share of it. Due to a characteristic in its crystal structure unique among Garnets, the Demantoid Garnet disperses a fire that surpasses even Diamond. With the world now lacking a significant supply of it, Demantoid Garnet is poised to become one of the rarest, most valuable gems on the scene.

Spinel Podcast

Episode 8. Spinel, often mistaken as Ruby, a rare beautiful jewel.

The impostor counterpart to Ruby and Sapphire for hundreds of years, Spinel has even fooled royalty: the Black Princess Ruby in the British Crown Jewels is a Spinel. Now, Spinel finally has its own lane, its own race—and it is in the Olympics with Ruby and Sapphire, selling for up to five digits a carat. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen takes us through the different varieties and origins of Spinel—Namya Red Jedi, Sri Lanka Cobalt, Vietnam Neon Cobalt Blue, and Mahenge Tanzanian—and up to his discovery of the world’s largest Cobalt Spinel, a 25.00 carat anomaly of a gemstone for which a mere 3.00 carat specimen is rare.

Sapphire podcast

Episode 9. Sapphire - one of the world’s most loved gemstone.

2012 and the hunt was on: 10,000 people; cities being built in the middle of the jungle; gemological researchers flown in by helicopter. And—soon after—the military. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen tells the story of Madagascar’s short-lived Didy deposit, which produced lucrative Kashmir Sapphire lookalikes, as he traces his experience with the storied Sapphire. Starting with legendary Paddar Kashmir Sapphire, which dates back to the Maharajas in ancient India, and commands the highest prices due to its historical value, our Gem Hunter discusses: his journeys of over 800 miles by foot between Azad Kashmir and Paddar to learn about the Kashmir Sapphire; the Sapphires of Sri Lanka and the Mogok Stone Tract; the qualities of heated and unheated Sapphires of various origins; and, finally, the California Gold Rush-style phenomenon of the Didy deposit in Madagascar.

journey to the stone podcast about cats eye, moonstone and star

Episode 10. Chatoyancy and Asterism – A natural celestial like phenomena seen in very rare stones.

Northern Lights, gem asterism, chatoyancy: some of the most compelling and extraordinary natural phenomena may share an origin. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen notes that the Northern Lights primarily come from material in Sri Lanka, which also produces the finest Cat’s Eye and Blue Star Sapphire. He goes on to discuss Star Rubies, Chrysoberyl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone. And of these striking, celestial gemstones, our Gem Hunter touches on the most remarkable varieties—which only occur once in every half a million pieces of rough material.

Journey to the stone podcast about emerald

Episode 11. Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor or Kat Florence they all adore Emerald.

Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor, Spanish royalty and Russian czars: Emerald has an illustrious history of admirers. Our Gem Hunter Don Kogen takes us through it all. Originating in Colombia’s Boyacá Highlands, Emerald was sacred in the religion of the indigenous Muzo people. Born of magma and Chromium, which gives the finest-quality Colombian and Russian Takovaya Emeralds their signature neon color, Emerald has caused obsessions so intense that they erupted into war—sometimes lasting for 50 years. Don Kogen has worked with churches to locate and evaluate the rarest and most historical Emeralds. And he has much to say about this otherworldly gemstone, which has times demanded over $200,000 a carat.

Journey to the stone podcast about Padparadscha Sapphire

Episode 12. Padparadscha Sapphire- one of the most coveted precious gems in the world.

One in a hundred million Sapphires will be a Padparadscha, sporting a unique pink-orange color. Beloved by the Maharajas of ancient India, this rare stone gets its unique color through an uncommon, perfect mix of Iron and Chromium. Listen to Don Kogen talk about the sunrise and sunset Padparadscha, the California Gold Rush-style discoveries of the Ilakaka and Didy deposits in Madagascar, and the source of the name Padparadscha, which means “lotus.”

Journey to the stone podcast about opla

Episode 13. Opal is Mother Nature’s painting on a gemstone.

It holds all the colors of the most important gems in the world: the red of the Ruby, the blue of the Sapphire, the green of the Emerald, and the yellows of the Canary Yellow Diamond. Opal is Mother Nature's painting on a gemstone, and its value is correspondingly high: Don Kogen has paid $200,000 for a single deposit of Opal before. Listen to this episode about the exciting Lightning Ridge Black Opal, a rare variety of Black Opal found only in Lightning Ridge, Australia. Don Kogen also touches on the Indonesian Opal, Ethiopian Opal, Welo Opal, and Harlequin Black Opal as he traces the lifespan of this rare gemstone.

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