4.1" Fat Hoppered SCEPTER QUARTZ Antique White on Smoky Stem

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today was a mineral shopping day in Araçuai. We visited 4 warehouses: Mineração Zé da Estrada (run by the owner of the hillside in Taquaral with all the mines that we visited yesterday), Tony Gemas Mineração, Marcos de Zé da Estrada, and Emerson Murta's Ie Pedras do Brazil. I got some fantastic cathedral quartz and cathedral citrine, half a dozen pieces of superb black kyanite (best I have ever seen), some nice rose quartz crystals, brazilianite, and several outstanding specimens of the rare phosphate mineral eosphorite. 

by Eric Greene



In September of 2016 I embarked on a private 10-day guided tour of the mining towns of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Why Brazil? If you love crystals and minerals, Brazil is the dream destination, sure to top your bucket list of must-see places in the world. The mineral tour was organized and led by Pedro Paulo Pinto, an experienced English-speaking guide who owns a travel agency in the colonial mining town of Ouro Preto. I was the only person on the tour, which included stops in some of the best-known mining towns in Minas Gerais, trips to a number of underground and open-pit mines, and visits to the shops and warehouses of over two dozen mineral dealers. This is my journal from the 18 days I spent on this amazing trip-of-a-lifetime for this mineral collector.


Minas Gerais is in southeastern Brazil, and its capital, Belo Horizonte, is about 250 miles NNW of Rio de Janeiro. Minas Gerais (which translates as "General Mines") is the fourth largest state in Brazil, and it is the country's best-known mining province, famed for its fine gemstone specimens of tourmaline, topaz, various members of the beryl group (emerald, aquamarine, morganite and heliodor), in addition to abundant quartz, (found in various forms including smoky quartz, citrine and rose quartz). The region's abundant pegmatite mines also produce other less well known gem minerals such as kunzite, chrysoberyl, euclase, and brazilianite. In addition, the state has huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and diamonds, and is a major producer of milk, coffee and other agricultural commodities. It is about 1,300 miles south of the equator, and has a humid subtropical climate.

Many new mineral finds make their premiere appearance at one of the many mineral shows in Tucson, Arizona, every year in February.  But at the 2014 East Coast Mineral Show, a significant and dramatic new find of highly aesthetic specimens showed up for the first time (Polityka 2014).  It consisted of almandine garnet crystals embedded in a shiny, dark silver graphite matrix; these were collected at the Red Embers mine in Erving, Franklin County, Massachusetts.  The graphite matrix had been selectively removed from both the front and back sides to expose the garnets, allowing light to shine through them, revealing the glowing, vivid burgundy-red color of the transparent gem almandine.  These specimens caused a minor uproar and were an immediate success, judging by the buzz of the crowds blocking the aisles around the booth set up by Jay Baskin of Jay's Minerals, located in New Jersey. Throughout the building people were raving about this new material, which has an extremely high “wow factor.”  The next year at the 2015 East Coast Show, Baskin returned with a new supply of this material that he had prepared over the previous year.  Buyers again lined up to purchase specimens of this extraordinary new material, including major players such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Harvard Mineralogical and Geological Museum, Yale University, the University of Arizona, and others (Polityka 2015).

Here is the latest word on the current situation at the Rogerley Mine in England, direct from one of the operators.

  • Created By : 23-Jun-2016
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Click here to see our current selection of sugilite specimens

Specimen photos©   

Gem sugilite is a polycrystalline aggregate: a massive gem material that is colored a very attractive purple-violet color, due to the presence of manganese. It is named for Ken-ichi Sugi, the Japanese geologist who discovered it in 1944 on an island in Japan. This material bears no resemblance to the gem grade purple sugilite that was found in 1979 at the Wessels Mine in South Africa. There was some controversy about the true identity of this material, which was originally thought to be sogdianite, but was soon shown to contain a small amount of manganese and no zirconium, and was thus proven to be the rare mineral sugilite. It is also known as lavulite.


  • Created By : 17-Jun-2016
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Click here to see all of our ammolite specimens.


Ammolite is an organic gemstone made from the nacre-like shells of fossilized ammonites which are found in Alberta, Canada. Its primary feature is its brilliant, iridescent colors, which are result of the material's opal-like qualities. Ammolite is mainly composed of aragonite, CaCO3. It is also known as aapoak, gem ammonite, and korite (a trade name). Ammolite is found on found on the shells of fossil ammonites from the Upper Cretaceous period (135 million years old). Ammolite is rare, occurring in only one small area near St. Mary River in southwestern Alberta, Canada.