703-Carat ‘L’Heure Bleu’ Carving Earns Guinness Record for Largest Cut Tanzanite

The 703-carat “L’Heure Bleu” recently earned Guinness honors as the world’s largest cut tanzanite.

Carved by New York City-based artist Naomi Sarna, L’Heure Bleu was officially weighed in at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals, Hillsboro, OR, by Guinness World Records adjudicator, Michael Empric.

Several years ago, Sarna was invited to travel to the tanzanite mines located in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania — the only place in the world where the mesmerizing blue-violet gemstone is found. She was asked to create a carving for an international competition that would also benefit the Maasai people and was presented with several large tanzanite crystals that might suit her vision.

The result was Sarna’s hand-carved L’Heure Bleu, a beautiful piece that would capture a First-Place Spectrum Award for carving from the American Gem Trade Association. The gem’s name means The Blue Hour in French. It’s a term to describe the time of twilight when there is neither full daylight or complete darkness.

The gem is mounted on a twisted sterling silver base inspired by the winds of Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley. The entire piece measures 6 inches tall, 4 3/4 inches wide and 2 inches deep.

During her trip to the ancestral land of the Maasai, the designer spent time with the Maasai women and taught them how to make wire-wrap jewelry from tanzanite. She also learned that many of the locals suffer from trachoma, a bacterial infection that causes vision loss and blindness.

Sarna pledged that when she sells her award-winning L’Heure Bleu carving, she will donate the profits to the world-renowned Portland-based Casey Eye Institute to provide eye care to the Maasai.

“The Guinness World Records brings international recognition and attention to my tanzanite carving L’Heure Bleu,” stated Sarna. “This recognition gives great strength to my promise to help the Maasai with their vision difficulties.”

“The Casey Eye Institute is in Naomi’s debt,” commented Dr. Andreas K. Lauer, director, Casey Eye Institute. “In the future, patients, their families and the Maasai community will feel her passion and love as they express it through their smiles and joy from improved vision.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Naomi Sarna Designs.


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