“The World’s Largest Gemstone Pendant” is on Permanent Display at GIA Headquarters

Bahia by Glenn Lehrer & Lawrence Stoller (GIA Collection). Photo copyright 2004 Artists EZine.
Bahia by Glenn Lehrer & Lawrence Stoller (GIA Collection). Photo copyright 2004 Artists EZine.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Named for its country of origin, Bahia is a massive gemstone sculpture made from an 800-pound raw quartz crystal unearthed in Brazil in 1987. For 7-1/2 years, world-renowned gemstone carvers Lawrence Stoller and Glenn Lehrer artfully and carefully coaxed the three masterful carvings from the mother stone.

Once the pieces were faceted and polished to perfection, the two artists commissioned Pepe Ozan to fashion Bahia‘s mounting, a large frame made from gold-plated steel, which when fastened to the ceiling by two steel cables makes the sculpture appear to be the pendant of a gargantuan necklace.

Indeed, at its home on the ground floor of the Tower of Brilliance in the atrium lobby of the Gemological Institute of America, Bahia is affectionately called “The World’s Largest Gemstone Pendant.” While its size is astonishing, the sculpture’s most captivating attraction lies inside the depths of the crystal’s structure.

Shimmering bursts and arcs of golden threads appear to dance within the highly transparent crystals. Floating at the center of the sculpture is an approximately 30-cm twinned “star” of these threads, termed rutile needles. These rutile needles are highly desirable in quartz crystals, and the combination of these golden sunbursts and the stone’s clarity and transparency, make Bahia one of the finest specimens of quartz crystals in the world.

Lawrence Stoller and Glenn Lehrer, Bahia’s creators, celebrate this astonishing piece as one of their greatest accomplishments, both for its grandness and its technical challenge. Together, they succeeded in unmasking the crystal’s most beautiful features, offering what one writer calls an “opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of the natural endowments of the earth and our relationship to it” {cited}.

Glenn Lehrer

Glenn Lehrer is known for his unique ability to transform a raw gemstone into a work of art “that miraculously transcends its own physical properties” {cited}. The Concierge Jeweler calls him “unequaled,” stating that in his hands ordinary raw stones become “profound sculptures in fine gemstones.”

Mr. Lehrer’s fascination with gemstones began in his youth, when his brother gave him a cut quartz as a gift. He went on to master on his own the techniques of skilled lapidarists and master goldsmiths before traveling to Idar-oBerstein to study gemology, geology, mineralogy, and several other disciplines.

In 1981, he and his wife, Sharon, co-founded Lehrer Designs, Inc., a gallery and work studio located in Larkspur, California. Pieces made by Lehrer Designs are known the world over for their fluid lines, their original designs, and their stunning brilliance. Before he begins sculpting a raw stone, he peers into the crystal and imagines the gem’s “proto-form” as it must have appeared as it emerged from the depths of the earth.

Lawrence Stoller

Lawrence Stoller is a man of deep passion and commitment to preserving and protecting nature’s most beautiful gifts. By transforming raw crystals into inspiring works of art, Mr. Stoller has established “beauty as the ingredient that bridges” what he terms the four disciplines of crystal field study: Mineralogy, Technology, Art, and Metaphysics.

Mr. Stoller believes that by “reading” his crystal sculptures, the viewer is transported “through the gates of knowledge, and into the terrains of Wonder” {cited}. It is Mr. Stoller who is credited as the pioneer of sculpting spectacular megagems like Bahia. In 2003, on commission from American Express, he created the 9/11 Eleven Tears Memorial, which stands in the American Express Tower at Three World Financial Center, across the street from Ground Zero in New York City.

Given the technical prowess and magnificent beauty of Bahia, it is most fitting that the sculpture is on permanent display at the GIA, an institution firmly committed to ensuring public trust in gemstones and jewelry by demonstrating their inherent value in these primordial gifts of the earth.

To view Bahia, and many other stunning jewels and gemstones, interested parties will find more information on the GIA’s Museum website.


1. American Masters of Stone. “Glenn W. Lehrer.” Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.americanmastersofstone.com/Biographies/Glenn%20Lehrer.htm.
2. Business Editors. “San Rafael Gem Sculptor Glenn Lehrer to Lecture at GIA on Unique Crystal Carving.” Copyright 2003, Business Wire. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/San+Rafael+Gem+Sculptor+Glenn+Lehrer+to+Lecture+at+GIA+on+Unique…-a0106400611.
3. Color Market Reports. “Bonhams to Host Expert Gem Carver Glenn Lehrer,” National Jeweler, January 21, 2011.
4. Concierge Jeweler. “Events.” Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.theconciergejeweler.com/events_ep_41.html.
5. GemUs. “Glenn Lehrer, G.G.” Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.gemus.org/en/pd.jsp?id=287&_pp=2_459.
6. GIA Museum. “Bahia.” Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.gia.edu/gia-museum-exhibit-bahia.
7. Lawrence Stoller Crystal Works. Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.crystalworks.com/.
8. Lehrer Designs, Inc. “About Us.” Accessed June 25, 2013. http://www.lehrerdesigns.com/.
9. Lehrer, Glenn and Lawrence Stoller. “Abstract from: The Techniques and Art of Cutting ‘The World’s Largest Gemstone Pendant,’ Bahia: A Natural, Transparent, Rutile Quartz Sculpture.” Gems & Gemology, Vol. 42, Issue 3, September 2006, p. 158.
Stoller, Lawrence. Frozen Light. San Rafael: Earth Aware, 2007.9. Voltaire, Barbra. “Glenn Lehrer,” GemologyOline Forum, February 22, 2009.