NOtes From The Field
Brazil, August 2000
Pederneira Mine, Sao Jose da Safira
Hola from Brazil !

We strive to bring you as close to the source with our gemstone suppliers to assure you the best quality and prices possible.  While we are not always able to get to the actual mine where each of our gem materials is produced, we'll give it our best shot!

During our travels we are looking for the best available color, quality, and workmanship at affordable prices.  It is very rare to be able to acquire any quantity at a single source, most of our day is spent visiting several sources and purchasing no more than a stone or two from each.

Our trip out to the Aricanga Mine was a great experience.  This mine is a honeycomb of tunnels and shafts following the "line" as the pegmatite folds at a steep angle into the mountain.  Alex, the leaseholder and miner showed us the open cavities along every level where one pocket after another of gem tourmaline were encountered.

We're looking forward to working with Alex in the future, as well as several other mine owners in this area. The current projects in this area show some of the best promise for new discoveries in Minas Gerais. 

Our contacts with the mine owners often allow us the chance for first pick when a new pocket of gemstones is discovered.  Although a good sized pocket may contain hundreds of gem crystals, there is often a surprising range of color and clarity.

Pederneira Mine Headquarters !


An indicolite tourmaline from a new pocket!
There is nothing like the excitement of being the first person to see a rough gem as it is removed from the earth.  We both have an extensive background in geology with more than forty years of field experience between us.  Literally hundreds of trips mining above and below ground really gives us an appreciation for how rare it is to encounter a pocket of rough gemstones in nature.


Paraiba tourmaline, an example of a fantastic gem
discovery in Brazil !
Throughout the world there are still new gem discoveries being made every day.  In Brazil alone during the past year there have been new finds of scapolite, fluorite, rutile, chrysoberyl, brazilianite, and natural blue topaz.  Many countries, including the United States, continue to surprise and amaze as with the incredible diversity of environments where gemstones are found.  While sometimes prospectors happen upon gemstones while looking for metallic ores, such as the Benitoite find in California in 1906, many finds are serendipitous such as the amethyst discovery in Rhode Island while digging a pit with a backhoe for a new septic tank!


Samuel and friend with a single smoky quartz crystal!
Of course there is always one crystal that we just can't manage to get home!
This individual smoky quartz crystal weighed in at 2,000 kilos!  Samuel, our guide in training, suggested that we wait for a better quality crystal at a more reasonable price.  The size of many of the crystals from a large pegmatite is truly astounding, one pegmatite in New Mexico is famous for the individual spodumene crystals that were as long as forty feet ! 
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