In this article are listed 10 unique gemstone finds. Each of these locations is the only place in the world where is mined a certain, rare gemstone.
Map of the sites
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List of 10 unique gemstone finds
Bolivia, Santa Cruz Department
Gemstone: Ametrine – a unique variety of quartz, part yellow and part purple
In short: In a pristine area of Bolivia is a legendary mine, where gorgeous purple-yellow crystals are found. These beautiful stones – ametrines – cover the walls of several small caves in this area. The exact location of this mine was a secret until 1990, although the stone has been known by locals before the coming of Europeans.
United States, California
In short: One of the most intensely colored blue gemstones – benitoite – is found only in one location. It was discovered in 1907 when a small cave that was completely covered with the crystals of benitoite was discovered. This is one of the most expensive gemstones, only some 10,000 carats (2 kg) have been produced thus far.
Madagascar, Androy Region
Gemstone: Blue garnet – unique variety of pyrope-spessartine
In short: The first blue-colored garnets were discovered around 1997 near Bekily. These stones have an unusual color-change effect: in daylight they are blue but in incandescent lighting – reddish-purple. Occasional finds of blue garnets have been made in Kenya as well, but the site near Bekily is the only one where these stones can be found regularly.
Russia, Sakha Republic and Irkutsk Oblast
In short: Charoite is the only non-transparent gemstone in this list, but it is included due to its rare lavender color and extreme rarity. Charoite was discovered in 1948 and is found only in one location.
Turkey, Muğla Province
Gemstone: Csarite™ – gem quality diaspore
In short: Diaspore is a common mineral but there is only one location in the world, where a beautiful gem-quality diaspore is found and mined. This is an abandoned bauxite mine in the mountains of Western Turkey. The stone is named csarite™ and zultanite®. This gemstone has a spectacular color-change effect: in daylight, it is light green to brownish but in incandescent light – carmine red.
Madagascar, Anosy Region
In short: Gem-quality grandidierite occasionally has been found in Sri Lanka and also in another location of Madagascar, but the only place where it has been found in larger amounts is Tranomaro mine. In total there have been produced some 60 grams (!) of grandidierite jewels – gorgeous blue-green stones. Their price is unknown because deals with these few stones are not disclosed.
Madagascar, Vakinankaratra Region
In short: Londonite was discovered in 1998 and gem-quality stones have been found only in one pegmatite dike near the abandoned Antsongombato village. This is a gorgeous yellow-to-colorless stone. Some 60 grams of londonite jewels have been produced.
In short: Ominelite was discovered in 1999. Thus far just a few beautiful, transparent grains in pale blue color have been found. Their size does not exceed 5 mm. The only location where these gems have been found is a beautiful, forested river valley at the world-famous Nara temples in Japan.
United States, Utah
Gemstone: Red beryl
In short: Beryls come in diverse colors – the most famous are the beautiful green emeralds that are mined in many locations around the world. But red beryls are mined only in one location – Ruby Violet claims in Utah, although occasional stones have been found elsewhere in Utah, New Mexico, and also San Luis Potosi (Mexico). It is assessed that some 300 beryl jewels have been produced in total and these gems are multiple times more expensive than diamonds of similar size.
In short: Tanzanite – a variety of the fairly common zoisite – is found only in one location, in Merelani Hills, Tanzania, in 7 by 2 km large area. It was discovered in 1967. The mines have been quite rich and have provided many tons of these gorgeous blue stones. The blue color is acquired by heat – but this has happened also in nature, for example, due to forest fires. The stone changes its color from deep blue to purple and burgundy depending on the direction.
Other unique gemstone finds
There are thousands of gemstone finds around the world. Gemstones in each of these finds have specific characteristics: for example, it is possible to tell, which emerald comes from Columbia and which – from Zambia.
But this article lists very specific places: mines of absolutely unique gemstones that are not mined anywhere else in the world.
The list above lists 10 of the most unique gemstone finds, but there are more!
Some other unique gemstone finds
- Find of Olmec blue jadeite, Río El Tambor (Guatemala) – the only place in the world where is found blue jadeite. This legendary stone was the most valuable material for the Olmec civilization.
- Finds of cobalt blue spinel in Lục Yên (Vietnam) – The best-known find of the extremely rare cobalt blue spinel.
- Kakanda malachite caves (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – several caves that are lined with highly unusual malachite stalactites. In this place are unique malachite crystals that are up to 2 cm large.
- Magdalena Opal mines (Mexico) – a find of the near-unique lloviznando opal – a variety of opal with a nearly transparent, light blue color and phenomenal play of colors. Finds of these opals are very rare, but here are found also fire opals of exceptional quality.
- Merit Pila lignite mine (Malaysia) – a lignite mine where the largest known pieces of amber are found. The 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.
- Mina da Batalha (Brazil) – the first mine of the Paraíba tourmaline. This beautiful gemstone contains copper and thus is colored an amazing blue-green color not met in any other tourmaline in the world (except in Nigeria).
- Pain Pyit mine (Myanmar) – one of the numerous Mogok mines, unique due to finds of extremely rare gemstone johachidolite, as well as the rare hackmanite.
- Scorpion Mine near Mwatate (“Bridges Mine”) (Kenya) – one of the few finds of a beautiful green gemstone – tsavorite.
- Silica Glass Valley (Egypt) – in the western side of the Great Sand Sea can be found pieces of pure, transparent silica glass (Libyan Glass) – the only such find in the world. The largest pieces are up to 26 kg heavy. It has been used as a jewel already in Ancient Egypt. It is possible that the crystals were created by the impact of a large meteorite.
- Trantimou grossular-andradite (Mali) – a find of unique gemstone – grossular-andradite. This beautiful gooseberry green stone was discovered in 1994.
- Umba River Valley (Tanzania) – a find of the world’s best rhodolites – a purplish garnet, a mixture of almandine and pyrope, here are found also the unique Umba sapphires, spessartines.
- White Cliffs Pineapple Opal Fields (Australia) – find of unique opalized fossils and crystals of other minerals replaced with opal. Often these opal stones look like clusters or balls of radiating crystals.
This guide provides concise, interesting and practical details on uncommon gems that are now being used by designers to create distinctive jewelry. It not only lists the identification properties of the gems, but tells you where they are found, how they are used, why they are unique, how they are priced, and how to care for them. High quality photos show the different colors, cutting styles and varieties of each gem and give you ideas on how each can be used creatively in jewelry.
Following the spectacular success of the first four editions of Gemstones of the World, the revised fifth edition exhibits important updates and a beautiful new cover. All the gemstones ever discovered are treated here in their many variations. More than 1,500 full-color photos showcase each precious and semiprecious stone in both its rough natural state and its polished and cut renditions.