Dr. Dan Robinson Jr., a Greenwood County physician, has made a contribution to Lander University from his collection of crystals and gemstones. Robinson has given Lander's Environmental Geology program an emerald specimen with an appraised value of $16,000.
Jeff Eller, co-owner of Sharp Facets Gallery in Greenwood who coordinated the transfer, described the specimen as volcanic mica schist containing dozens of large dark-colored emeralds. He said it is a very unusual and rare large-scale specimen from a Muzo mine in the region of Colombia, South America, which is recognized as a source of the world's highest quality emeralds.
Eller estimated that emerald crystals represent 70 percent of the weight of the rock and would yield about 2,000 carats of finished stones valued at $8.00 a carat. Dr. Daniel Pardieck, assistant professor of environmental geology at Lander, said the specimen will be used in classes periodically as an example of metamorphic rock and to demonstrate to students the raw forms that contain precious stones.
Pardieck said, because of its value, the emerald specimen will eventually be placed on display in Lander's College of Science and Mathematics. It will be added to his department's existing collection, which includes diamonds that are used for comparison and testing of other diamonds, a sapphire weighing more than two kilograms that is not gem quality, and a bag of gold nuggets.
Robinson, who is president and CEO of Piedmont Health Group in Greenwood, Ninety Six and Hodges, describes himself as a lifelong outdoorsman and supporter of wildlife conservation. He said he wanted to share his interest with future generations by donating the emerald specimen from his collection to Lander.