Factual 52'

The World's Greatest Treasure

Heliodor, spinel, purple jade and Paraiba tourmaline are among those gemstones little-known to the general public, yet which have fired passions since mankind first set eyes on them. Where do they come from? What path have they followed before they go on show in jewelers’ glass cases? And who are the gem hunters who track them down?

To get behind these mysteries, this film takes us to the heart of the world’s biggest exhibition and trade event for precious stones: the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.

Since its inauguration in 1955, this event brings together around 10,000 exhibitors in the middle of the Arizona desert for three weeks of gemstone mania. On show across the city are thousands stones of all kinds, including some of the most prized on the planet. Experts, collectors, museum curators, and jewelers, along with simple gem fans all share their passion for gemology as they walk the corridors of this unrivalled event. Some come to dream, others to trade – sometimes for hundred of millions of dollars.

From emerald deposits and open-pit marble mines to jeweler’s display cases, this film takes us on the trail of some outstanding treasures, genuine marvels of nature, and immerses us deep into a universe that inspires the dreams of many. It is a window into the magical and cutthroat world of the gem hunters and their sometimes surprising practices.

Direction: Paul Terrel


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