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Gemstone finds

Outstanding finds of gemstones

Ruby from Mogok, Burma
Ruby from Mogok / Rob Lavinsky, / 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

Malachite stalactite, Congo DR
Malachite stalactite from the cave in Katanga province / Radio Okapi, / CC BY 2.0
  • Antsongombato gem mine - Madagascar, Vakinankara-tra. Here are found by far the largest and best crystals of extremely rare mineral and gemstone - rhodizite - londonite. This mineral is very hard, transparent, in pale green - yellow color. Here is found also good quality red tourmaline.
  • Blue garnets of Bekily (Ambahatany and other mines) - Madagascar, Androy. The only find of blue garnets in the world, a pyrope-spessartine with vanadium content. Some of these stones have color change effect - from blue in daylight to red in artificial light.
  • Ilakaka Sapphire mines - Madagascar, Ihorombe. The largest find of sapphire in the world, discovered in 1998. Sapphire is found in diverse colors - blue, violet, green, pink, yellow, orange.
  • Kagem Emerald Mines – Zambia, Copperbelt Province. Here are mined some of the best emeralds in the world, in some aspects surpassing the famous Colombian emeralds. Zambian emeralds have a rich, deep green color, crystals have very high quality.
  • Kakanda malachite caves - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Katanga. Caves lined with highly unusual malachite stalactites. Found also unique malachite crystals up to 2 cm large.
  • Kianjavato Emeralds - Madagascar, Vatovavy-Fitovinany. Here, in tropical forests are found some of the finest emeralds in the world.
  • Mahenge gemstone finds - Tanzania, Morogoro Region. Find of some of the best spinels in the world, with unusual neon glow. Other gemstones are found here as well.
  • Liddicoatite - a variety of tourmaline from Anjanabonoina pegmatites, Madagascar
    Liddicoatite - a variety of tourmaline from Anjanabonoina pegmatites, Madagascar / , / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Mainry Labradorite Mine (Norcross Labradorite Mine) - Madagascar, Atsimo-Andrefana. Here is mined one of the finest labradorite varieties in the world. Labradorite here is found in large blocks and has especially bright labradorescence.
  • Mapatizya Amethyst Mine – Zambia, Southern Province. Here are found some of most spectacular amethysts in the world. The find is very rich and amethysts here are virtually everywhere.
  • Merelani Hills - Tanzania, Arusha. The only rich find of tanzanite - unusual, deep blue gemstone.
  • Scorpion Mine near Mwatate ("Bridges Mine") - Kenya, Coast Province, Taita Hills. One of the few finds of beautiful green gemstone - tsavorite.
  • Shewa opal mine - Ethiopia, Amhara. Rich find of top-quality opal with very beautiful opalescence. Stones are in diverse colors.
  • Tiramene sapphires - Madagascar, Anosy, near Andranondambo. Find of deep blue sapphires of exceptional quality.
  • Tanzanite crystals of exceptionally high quality, Tanzania
    Tanzanite crystals of exceptionally high quality, from Merelani Hills in Tanzania / Rob Lavinsky, / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Trantimou grossular-andradite - Mali, Kayes. A find of unique gemstone - grossular-andradite. This beautiful gooseberry green stone was discovered in 1994.
  • Tunduru gemstone finds - Tanzania, Ruvuma Region. In this area are found rare and very valuable gemstones, such as some of the best alexandrites, spinels, padparadschas, taafeites and others. Even one of the few specimens of musgravite has been found here.
  • Umba River Valley - Tanzania, Tanga Region. Here are found the world's best rhodolites - a purplish garnet, mixture of almandine and pyrope, here are found also beautiful sapphires, spessartines.
  • Wegel Tena Opal Fields - Ethiopia, Welo. Recent find of top quality opal, which has unusual effect - when immersed in water, it becomes fully transparent.

Asia

Faceted clinohumite, Tajikistan
Faceted clinohumite, Tajikistan / David Zotter / Bennett-Walls, / public domain
  • Hpakan jade mine (Phakant mine) - Burma, Kachin State. Major find of high quality jade. World's largest jade stone has been found here - it is 21 m long and 6 m high.
  • Karkodin Demantoid Mine - Russia, Chelyabinsk Oblast. The only large mine of demantoid - beautiful, green garnet.
  • Kukh-i-Lal mine - Turkmenistan, western part of Kuhistoni-Badakhshon east from Vogda village. Ancient mines up to 50 m deep. The best find of gemstone quality clinohumite - transparent stones in the color of fire. Clinohumite here is found together with another very valuable gemstone - spinel, which was mined here since 8th century AD.
  • Ladzhuar-Dara lazurite mine - Turkmenistan, southern Kuhistoni-Badakhshon. Legendary, nearly inaccessible and for long centuries secret mine of high quality lapis lazuli - lazurite. It is extremely hard to access, thus adding value to this gemstone. Rediscovered in 1930ies.
  • Laghman Pegmatites (Nilaw, Mawi, Korgal) - Afghanistan, Nuristan Province. Finds of the best known kunzite and other types of spodumene crystals (gemstones up to 1 m long), as well as tourmaline (possibly the best elbaite in the world), beryl (morganite, aquamarine and other types), garnets and other gems.
  • Maingkwan burmite mine - Burma, Kachin State. Best known mine of deep red variety of amber - burmite.
  • Merit Pila lignite mine - Malaysia, Sarawak. Lignite mine where the largest known pieces of amber are found. Largest extracted piece was 3.5 m long, 1.5 m wide and some decimeters thick, but layers of amber in the lignite are even 130 m long.
  • Mingora emerald mine - Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Swat Valley. Mines of possibly the best emeralds in world.
  • Mogok ruby and sapphire mines - Burma, Mandalay Region. In the river beds around Mogok city are found some of the best rubies and sapphires in the world, as well as some 60 other kinds of gemstones - including such beautiful rarities as taafeite, sinhalite, johachidolite, poudretteite and others. Some of the best peridotes are found in Pyaung Gaung mine. Gems are mined here since prehistoric times.
  • Mong Hsu ruby mines - Burma, Shan State. Richest find of rubies in the world, many stones have very high quality. Some 95% of faceted rubies in the world are mined here.
  • Lapis lazuli, Afghanistan
    Lapis lazuli, Afghanistan / Parent Géry, / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Nishapur mines of turquoise (Neyshabur) - Iran, Razavi Khorasan. Ancient, more than 2000 years old mines of turquoise, considered to provide the best quality turquoise in the world. Mine is closed now.
  • Pain Pyit mine - Burma, Mandalay Region. One of the numerous Mogok mines, unique due to finds of extremely rare gemstone jodachidolite, as well as the rare hackmanite.
  • Panjshir emeralds - Afghanistan, Panjshir. Rich find of some of the best emeralds in the world.
  • Ratnapura gemstone mines - Sri Lanka, Sabaragamuwa Province. Extensive region with multiple gemstone mines. These mines have provided incredible variety of high quality gemstones, such as sapphire, padparadsha, topaz, garnets, tourmaline, chrysoberyl and many others, including numerous kinds of very rare gemstones.
  • Sar i Sang Lapis Lazuli find - Afghanistan, Badakhshan Region. For several millenia here is mined the best lapis lazuli in the world.

Australia

  • Coober Pedy Opal Mines - Australia, South Australia. World largest find of gem quality opal.
  • Lightning Ridge Opal Fields - Australia, New South Wales. Best find of black opals.
  • Wawe Hill Station prehnite finds - Australia, Northern Territory. Possibly the largest find of gem quality prehnite - light green, transparent gemstone.
  • White Cliffs Pineapple Opal Fields - Australia, New South Wales. Find of unique opalised fossils and crystals of other minerals replaced with opal. Often these opal stones look like clusters or balls of radiating crystals.

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
  • Outokumpu uvarovite - Finland, Northern Karelia. Here are found the most beautiful uvarovites - rare green garnets, which reach 2 cm size and often are lucid.
  • Volodarsk - Volynsk heliodor finds - Ukraine, Zhitomir Oblast. Here are found some of the best heliodores (yellow beryl) in the world. Many crystals have interesting "solution" structures.
  • Yantarny amber mines - Russia, Kaliningrad Oblast. The site where the first amber mines started to operate in the middle of 19th century. Currently open pit mine "Primorskoje" is producing some 500 tons of amber per year.
  • Ylämaa spectrolite find - Finland, Southern Finland. Find of possible the best labradorite in world, illuminating in all colors.

North America

Benitoite crystals from San Benito, United States
Benitoite crystals from San Benito, United States / Didier Descouens, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Hiddenite Emerald Mine - United States, North Carolina. Interesting, rich find of gemstones. Here have been found more than 63 minerals, many of them - gemstones, such as emerald, aquamarine, sapphire, garnets, beautiful quartz crystals. Place is famous for the finds of rare hiddenite crystals - this is the first location where this beautiful, light green variety of spodumene is found.
  • Jadeite mines near El Ciprés - Guatemala, Zacapa. Some of the best finds of Maya jadeite - beautiful green gemstone of great importance to ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
  • Mont Saint-Hilaire - Canada, Quebec. 414 m tall mountain, with one of the last stands of primeval forest in Saint-Lawrence valley. Mountain has very high mineral diversity, here have been found 366 minerals, many are unique or near unique to this site. Here was discovered poudretteite - seven pieces of this beautiful gemstone have been found on this mountain. Legendary site, known also thanks to frequent observations of UFO's.
  • Palo Quemado blue amber mine - Dominican Republic, Santiago province. The richest (and almost the only) find of the fluorescent Dominican blue amber, which changes its color according to lighting conditions.
  • Red Beryl finds in Wah Wah Mountains (Maynard's Claim, Violet Mine and others) - United States, Utah. Finds of very rare red beryl - bixbite.
  • San Benito find of benitoite - United States, California. The only find of benitoite of gem quality.
  • Santa Maria del Iris, La Hacienda and La Esperanza mines of opal - Mexico, Querétaro. Possibly the best finds of fire opal in the world.
  • Tablon mine of seam opals - Honduras, Lempira. Some of the most beautiful and expensive opals in the world, with extremely bright iridescence. May cost up to 5,000 USD per carat.

South America

Ametrine crystals
Ametrine crystals, Bolivia / Jimmy Giles, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Anahí Mine - Bolivia, Santa Cruz. Richest find of the best ametrine in the world. Ametrine is a rare variety of quartz in golden and purple colors.
  • Marambaia valley aquamarine finds - Brazil, Minas Gerais. Some of the best aquamarine of the world is found here. Here has been found also the largest gemstone of the world - this clean piece of aquamarine was more than 110 kg heavy, was 48.5 cm long.
  • Mina da Batalha – Brazil, Paraíba. Mine where the unique Paraíba tourmaline is found. This beautiful gemstone contains copper and thus is colored in amazing blue-green color not met in any other tourmaline in world (except in Nigeria).
  • Rio Itoco emerald mines in Muzo - Colombia, Boyacá. The site where the best emeralds in the world are found. Other famous Colombian mines are in Chivor and Coscuez.

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