Archive | Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire, Gemstone Mining

HOW ETHICAL IS YOUR JEWELLERY? – by Ali Gray (Elle U.K. – December 8, 2017)

http://www.elleuk.com/

If you’re not asking questions about your gemstones, now’s the time to start

Thanks partly to Paris Hilton and the Ab Fab ladies, excessive opulence was everywhere during the ’90s and early ’00s. The “bling” mentality was the cultural norm – and, when it came to jewellery, many consumers were more concerned with the status it brought them than where the stones were sourced.

But over the past decade, the tides have been turning. Our stronghold on materialism has relaxed, making way for a generation that’s favouring more considered purchases.

When it comes to jewellery, that added consideration has led to an increased demand for ethical gemstones. If you saw the 2006 film Blood Diamond and began to question your own jewellery collection, you’re not alone. The impact from the Leonardo DiCaprio drama seemed to add to a conversation that was already gaining traction. More and more women were receiving the message: our jewellery decisions matter. Continue Reading →

Afghanistan’s Beautiful Link to Da Vinci’s $450 Million ‘Salvator Mundi’ – by Suleiman Wali (Huffington Post – November 20, 2017)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Itis difficult to imagine that the Renaissance-era painting by Leonardo da Vinci that was recently auctioned in New York for $450 million has any kind of relationship with Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world.

On the same day that the jaw-dropping Christie’s sale of Salvator Mundi (Italian for Savior of the World) shattered world records — and went for more than seven million times as much as it sold for in 1958 ($60!) — it was reported, coincidentally, that Afghanistan’s opium production also hit a new record high, rising 87 percent from last year.

However, it is not in the statistics, but in the aesthetics where an incredibly intimate connection can be made. The predominant color in the mesmerizing Salvator Mundi — the celestial, vivid blue that clothes Jesus Christ himself — hails from the rich and forbidding caves of the Sar-e-Sang valley in Afghanistan’s mountainous Badakhshan province. The source of this blue is the country’s lapis lazuli, a semiprecious gemstone that was once more expensive per ounce than gold. Continue Reading →

Mine Blown: What I Saw At The World’s Single Largest Emerald Mine In Zambia, & Beyond -by Varun Rana (MensXP.com – August 2017)

http://www.mensxp.com/

Not many people get to visit a gemstone mine in Africa. So when Gemfields invited me to be part of a press trip to Zambia’s Copperbelt Province—to Kagem, the single largest emerald mine in the world—I jumped at it.

Like India, Zambia was once a British colony, and was known as Northern Rhodesia till it gained independence in 1964. Because of this, almost everybody speaks English, which makes life very easy.

We reached the mining camp on the night of 14th June, and were quickly shown to our rooms. After we had showered, we gathered at the Lake House, the mining camp’s watering hole. As I had been warned, I took care not to step on the sinuous trails of dangerous army of ants that moved like dark mercury across the walkways. One bite from a single ant is said to be excruciatingly painful. Imagine stepping on an entire foraging party! Continue Reading →

Chinese demand for rubies expected to sparkle – by Tess Ingram (Australian Financial Review – July 9, 2017)

http://www.afr.com/

The takeover of London-listed gemstone miner Gemfields will leave an Australian ruby junior as the only direct-listed exposure to a burgeoning sector keenly watched by China.

Gemfields, one of the world’s largest miners of coloured gemstones and the owner of the Faberge jewellery brand, will be delisted at the end of the month after its major shareholder Pallinghurst Resources triumphed in a bidding war for the company over China’s Fosun Gold Holdings.

Minority shareholders in Gemfields were outraged when Pallinghurst, a South-African listed fund chaired by former BHP Billiton chief Brian Gilbertson, lobbed a nil-premium, all-share bid in May for the 53 per cent of the company it didn’t already own. Despite a rival cash bid from the Chinese conglomerate, Pallinghurst’s strong grip on Gemfields saw it prevail, with it now holding about 85 per cent of the company ahead of its offer closing on July 18. Continue Reading →

Glittering prize: The booming demand for opals – by Serena Solomon (BBC.com – June 29, 2017)

http://www.bbc.com/

Coober Pedy, South Australia – As the 40ft (12m) drill rattles down through the red dirt, miner Craig Stutley makes a statement that sounds a lot like what he said 30 minutes ago. “This is the hole,” says the 45-year-old. Mr Stutley’s mining partner, Richard Saunders, who seems eternally caked in dusty soil, mumbles in agreement.

The two men are standing in the middle of the sun-bleached South Australian outback, hunting for opals, the rare gemstones that can sparkle with a rainbow of different colours. They sift through the earth that the test drill pulls up, searching for signs of opals that could potentially make them a fortune.

With the largest, best-quality Australian opals worth more than £600,000 thanks to soaring demand from jewellers around the world, there is a vast amount of money to be – potentially – made. The trouble is that opals are so scarce. Even in designated opal fields, you need luck, and months, or even years, of patience to find them. Continue Reading →

Billionaire Leviev Adds Zambia Emeralds to Diamond Portfolio – by Matthew Hill, Thomas Biesheuvel, Denver Kisting and Taonga Clifford Mitimingi (Bloomberg News – June 1, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Billionaire Lev Leviev, who made his fortune undercutting De Beers’ former diamond monopoly, has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines.

Leviev bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, said by phone. The operation has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings.

A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company controlled in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment. A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details. Continue Reading →

Bright Future: Analysts paint sparkling picture of coloured gemstone market – by Ilan Solomons (Mining Weekly.com – April 28, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The shift from small-scale artisanal mining to larger mechanised mining, owing to the increasing involvement of larger mining companies and greater formalisation of the sector, is expected to increase the distribution channel of the coloured gemstone industry, which will continue to consolidate as smaller market participants disappear.

This is also likely to result in improved transparency of the coloured gemstone industry over time, as larger mining houses are accountable to their shareholders as well as local and international operating regulations.

This is according to nonprofit organisation representing the coloured gemstone industry the International Coloured Gemstone Association former VP and senior industry analyst Jean Claude Michelou, who predicts that, in time, there will be “strong growth” in the sale of coloured gems in Brazil, Russia, India and China, particularly in India and China, which have a long-standing affinity for coloured gems. Continue Reading →

Sapphire rush overwhelms remote Madagascar rainforests – by Edward Carver (Toronto Star – April 2, 2017)

https://www.thestar.com/

The Associated Press – ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR—A sapphire rush has brought tens of thousands of people into the remote rainforests of eastern Madagascar, disfiguring a protected environmental area and prompting calls for military intervention.

More high-quality sapphires have been found in the biodiverse area known as Corridor Ankeniheny-Zahamena in the past six months than were found in the entire country over the past 20 years, according to Vincent Pardieu, a French gemologist who has been visiting mines there for more than a decade and was in the area last month.

“I can tell you this is big,” Pardieu said. Gem trade shows around the world now have “nice, big, super-clean sapphires” from the region. “It’s the most important discovery in Madagascar for the past 20 or 30 years.” Continue Reading →

Mozambique ruby rush leads to gangland turf war – by AFP (eNCA.com – March 29, 2017)

https://www.enca.com/

MONTEPUEZ, Mozambique – The stakes are high in Montepuez where the discovery of rubies has led to violence among miners that has turned the northern town into what some describe as Mozambique’s own version of the Wild West.

Discovery of the red gemstone in 2009 sparked a “ruby rush”, with thousands of miners arriving to seek their fortune, but often finding only grim conditions, conflict and danger.

“We have a lot of foreigners who come from a lot of countries to look for rubies,” Tania Mabota, chief medical officer of Montepuez Hospital, told AFP. “There’s conflict for territory because it’s a means of subsistence for the artisanal miners,” she added. “One stone is enough for a person to be attacked.” Continue Reading →

Into the green land: Emerald mining in Colombia – by Javier Corso (Al Jazeera.com – March 20, 2017)

http://www.aljazeera.com/

Emerald seekers scour Colombia’s Muzo Valley, searching for the gem that could lift them out of poverty.

Muzo, Colombia – The struggle over land is Colombia’s oldest conflict. For decades the mines of Muzo – widely known as the “emerald capital of the world” – have produced great fortunes for their owners.

In the so-called “Green Wars” during the 1980s, territorial disputes escalated into full-blown conflict as the country’s leading mining families fought over territory.

In those days, the “barequeros” – emerald seekers who dig through debris – gathered by the thousands around the Muzo Valley, hoping that emeralds would arise from the dark soil to rescue them from extreme poverty. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Winner of the 2016 Carnegie Mineralogical Award Announced

www.carnegiemnh.org

Carnegie Museum of Natural History named Anthony R. Kampf the winner.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce that Anthony (Tony) R. Kampf, PhD, is the winner of the 2016 Carnegie Mineralogical Award. Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Director Eric Dorfman, PhD, presented the award to Kampf on February 12, 2017 during the Saturday night awards banquet at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
The Carnegie Mineralogical Award honors outstanding contributions in mineralogical preservation, conservation, and education and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the field of mineralogy.

“Dr. Kampf has consistently provided a high level of service to the amateur and professional mineral communities. I am very pleased to see him honored as the recipient of the 2016 Carnegie Mineralogical Award,” said Marc Wilson, curator of collections of the Section of Minerals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Continue Reading →

Adventures of a Australian female opal miner – by Jason Bainbridge (The Age – February 26, 2017)

http://www.theage.com.au/

If Sue Cooper has a problem with her telephone reception, it is a 10-hour round trip for a Telstra Remote-Area Service technician in a four-wheel drive to fix it. If she needs to refuel? That’s a three-hour round trip with a 2000-litre tanker on a dirt track. And if she needs medical attention? Build your own airstrip in order for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to land.

Welcome to Sue Cooper’s life, six to seven months of every year, as an opal miner in western Queensland. One of Sue’s mining leases is on Mount Margaret Station, a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station. Located about 50 kilometres west of the township of Eromanga (Australia’s furthest town from the sea), Mount Margaret was once Australia’s largest sheep station, occupying 600,000 hectares.

Sue is a relative through marriage, and I visited her mining camp in late 2016. To give a sense of scale out here, the “bush paddock” containing Sue’s small mining lease is a rugged, fenced-off corner of the property comprising 69,000 hectares – roughly the size of Singapore. Often Sue, her partner and her children are the only people out here. Continue Reading →

Fortune hunters flock to Madagascar’s sapphire mines (Agence France-Presse -January 8, 2017)

http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/

(AFP) – The dusty figure is lowered slowly into the ground like a bucket into a well, armed with just a crowbar, a shovel and an old, unreliable headlamp. In the surrounding countryside, bodies rise and sink from hundreds of holes just wide enough for a man.

Children run between the rubble and the smell of cooking wafts from the makeshift shelters where women crouch over pots. Guards armed with hunting rifles stand by, turning the settlement of Betsinefe into a threatening scene. In the world of Madagascan sapphire mining, there are few rules.

Sapphires were first discovered in Madagascar in the late 1990s, and already the Indian Ocean island is one of the world’s largest producers of the precious stones. Its 250-kilometre-long (155-mile) deposit is among the biggest in the world and has sparked a sapphire rush. Continue Reading →

Ring-tailed lemurs face extinction amid sapphire-mining rush in Madagascar – by Ian Johnston (The Indpendent – December 21, 2016)

http://www.independent.co.uk/

The ring-tailed lemur of Madagascar is “disappearing right under our noses” as the iconic animal is hunted and trapped to extinction and its forest home is destroyed by people hunting for sapphires.

Lemurs are the most threatened group of vertebrates on the planet but it was thought the resourceful ring-tailed species – which featured in the hit cartoon film series Madagascar and the BBC’s recent Planet Earth II documentary – would be the last to die out.

However, despite their ability to survive in some of the harshest environments on the Indian Ocean island, they have been mostly reduced to small groups, researchers warned in a paper called Going, Going Gone: Is the Iconic Ring-railed Lemur Headed for Imminent Extirpation? in the journal Primate Conservation. Continue Reading →

A ‘sapphire rush’ has sent at least 45,000 miners into Madagascar’s protected rainforests – by Julia P G Jones (The Conservation – November 21, 2016)

http://theconversation.com/

The rainforests of Didy in eastern Madagascar usually ring with the calls of the indri, the island’s largest lemur. There is a different noise now: the chopping of trees, digging of gravel, and cheers of encouragement from the thousands of illegal miners who have flooded to these forests since sapphires were discovered in late September.

Bemainty, an area in the west of Didy, is experiencing a sapphire rush. Rosey Perkins, a gemologist, visited soon after the rush began in October. She estimated 45,000 people were already involved and that the mine was growing by 1,500 to 2,000 people a day. By now it may be significantly bigger. She told me:

“These gem deposits are found in the gravels of ancient river beds. Some are unusually large and have an attractive blue colour; there have been some phenomenal finds which are drawing in traders from as far away as Sri Lanka.” Continue Reading →