List of described gemstone finds

Here are listed gemstone finds described by Wondermondo.

Click on headings to sort the table!

NoNameCountry
343 Kagem Emerald Mines Zambia
347 Palo Quemado blue amber mine Dominican Republic

Map of described gemstone finds

Emerald from Muzo mines, Colombia
Emerald from Muzo mines, Colombia.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Gemstones are decorative stones of high value, used in adornments, mostly - in jewellery.

Kinds of gemstones

None can say exact number of kinds of gemstones. Creative lapidaries can make beautiful jewellery for almost any materials - but most videly used are some 30 kinds of gemstones.

More than 100 other kinds of natural stones are gorgeous gemstones as well, but are used less frequently due to their extreme rarity or rare occurence of gemstone quality samples.

Qualities

Main distinguishing qualities of gemstones are:

  • Opal Galaxy from Opalville, Australia
    Opal "Galaxy" from Opalville, Australia.
    Assignment_Houston_One, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5
    Beauty - most important value.
    Distinguished gemstones have lively, lucid color (e.g. the incredible blue color of the best tanzanites) or even many colors (high quality opals and spectrolite).
    Top quality gemstones should not be just transparent crystals, they should have special brilliance, luster. Best in this respect is the king of gemstones - diamond, but some other gemstones, like zircon and garnets, also have high index of refraction.
    Lucidity, transparency is another important factor for most gemstones - the beauty of emerald, ruby or spinel can be appreciated only if the crystal is clean.
    Many gemstones have specific "wow" factor - unique light effects. Thus alexandrite or the very rare blue garnet change their color according to the lighting - they are red in artificial light and green or blue - in natural light. Spectrolite and opal have special effect of iridiscence and some stones have specific inclusions which cause effect of asterism.
  • The blue Hope Diamond in Smithsonian Natural History Museum, possibly from India
    The blue Hope Diamond in Smithsonian Natural History Museum, possibly from India.
    350z33, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Hardness, stability and/or sturdiness - this quality is important for practical reasons - after all people would be happy to use their jewels often and at the same time retain their jewellery as the legacy of family for many generations.
    Some gemstones belong to the hardest substances known in nature (diamond, sapphire, ruby, chrysoberyl and the extremely rare moissanite).
    There are comparatively soft gemstones - such as amber or chrysocolla - but these can be used as gemstones thanks to their comparatively high sturdiness.
    Weak point of many popular gemstones is their loss of quality over the time. Thus, some especially bright colors in crystals are caused by natural radioactivity - and, as the crystals are removed from their original location, after some years the beautiful color is lost. Softer gemstones over the time can become dull - their surface is covered with crevices and scratches. Very often gemstones are artificially improved - and loose their improvements over the time.
  • Red beryl, Wah Wah Mountains in Utah, United States
    Red beryl, Wah Wah Mountains in Utah, United States.
    Rob Lavinsky, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Rarity. Jewellery is a mode of expression - and in order to excel, one needs to have something unique.
    There are just a handful of red diamonds or blue garnets with changing color in the world - it is simpler and cheaper to buy a Lamborghini than such a stone. One tiny blue garnet (4.2 carats) has been sold for 6.8 million dollars in 2003.
    Or - one can try to become the owner of the gem quality natural moissanite or grandidierite crystals (each of them represented by ONE piece) or chase the few existing gem quality musgravites or serendibites, each costing millions of dollars.

Gemstone finds

Entrance in amber mine, La Cumbre in Dominican Republic
Entrance in amber mine, La Cumbre in Dominican Republic.
Ken Mayer, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While such gemstones as diamonds can have classic mines with state of the art equipment, very often the gemstones are mined by hard manual labour.

Even in their places of finding gemstones are very rare and one needs to sift tons of rock to find a gem.

"Gem fever" can start by a lucky find of two - three beautiful stones. Often nothing more is found - but sometimes findings continue and then more an more people arrive in the search of luck.

Sometimes the mine is exhausted in one or two years. But sometimes gems are mined for millenia and such mines become legendary - such as the lapis lazuli mines in Afghanistan (Sar i Sang) and Tajikistan (Ladzhuar-Dara) or Maya jadeite mines (El Ciprés in Guatemala).

Illicit diamond washing in Sierra Leone
Illicit diamond washing in Sierra Leone, Kono.
Brian Harrington Spier, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The process of gem mining is far from being graceful and romantic. In less developed countries gem mining communities too often are living in terrible shanty towns and are suffering from violent crime. Gemstone mines for most part are dangerous ratholes which can collapse over the heads of miners.

After their finding gems travel from one hands to others, miraculously becoming more and more expensive. Finally the miners earn just a tiny fraction of the final price of gemstone.

Nature's unspoilt beauty

1.3 cm large spessartine crystal, Tanzania
1.3 cm large spessartine crystal, Tanzania.
Rob Lavinsky, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Irrespective of the hustle around the gemstones they are beautiful. Lots of rare coincidences were needed to create them - extreme pressure or exceptionally long time periods with very even natural circumstances and purity. One can think that gemstones are a kind of summit in nature's achievements, at least in the realm of inanimate things.

Nothing compares to the feeling when one takes a jewel in hand and looks at it. Legs may become a bit shaky, heart beats faster and, after a longer look on gem everything else feels pale and dull. Gemstones certainly have miraculous charisma and have influenced many lives by exposing the hidden nature of many people.

Outstanding finds of gemstones

Liddicoatite - a variety of tourmaline from Anjanabonoina pegmatites, Madagascar
Liddicoatite - a variety of tourmaline from Anjanabonoina pegmatites, Madagascar.
Rob Lavinsky, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Gemstones belong to category of rare natural materials - materials which can be found just in a few localities of the world.

Below are listed selected finds of gemstones around the globe. Finds are arranged by the part of the world and in an alphabetic order:

Africa

Asia

Australia

Europe

Uvarovite from Outokumpu Mine, Finland
Wonderful crystal of uvarovite over 8 mm, from Outokumpu Mine, Finland.
Wikimedia Commons, Rob Lavinsky. CC BY-SA 3.0

North America

Ametrine crystals
Ametrine crystals, Bolivia.
Jimmy Giles, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

South America


Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 28 August 2012 Gatis Pāvils

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