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Gemstones Prospecting in

Chitral Region
An Informatory Manual for Local Miners

Prepared By:
Najmuddin Ali Khan (Junior Engineer, NESPAK)
Khawar Jamil (Junior Engineer, ACE)

Table of contents:

What is Gem and Gemology

Formation of Gemstones
Types of Gemstones
Identification of Gemstones
Properties of Gemstones
4Cs of Diamonds
Gemstones Mining Methods
10 Important Gemstones

1. What is Gem and Gemology

A gemstone or gem (also called a fine gem, jewel, or a precious or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral
crystal, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks
(such as lapis lazuli) or organic materials that are not minerals (such as amber or jet), are also used for jewelry, and
are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are
used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another
characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. A gem maker is called a lapidary or gem-cutter; a diamond worker is
a diamantaire.
Gemology or gemmology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. It is considered
a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy. Some jewelers are academically trained gemologists and are qualified to
identify and evaluate gems.

2. Formation of Gemstones
Gems form in many different environments in the Earth. The most common and important environments and
formation processes will be explained briefly below. It is important to distinguish where gems are formed from
where they are found. Almost all gems are formed below the Earth's surface.
Some are brought to the surface through mining
Some are brought to the surface through earth processes (faulting, folding, large scale uplift,
volcanism). These processes can move rock up from more than 400 km below the surface.


Formation Environments:

In the following sections we will examine how gems form. We will start with examples at or near the
Earth's surface and move down into the mantle.
Water near the Earth's surface interacts with minerals and dissolves them. The ability of these solutions to
maintain elements in solution varies with physical conditions. If the solution conditions change (for example if
the solution cools or evaporates), minerals will precipitate. A similar, familiar processes is formation of salt
crystals by evaporation of sea water.
The mineral that forms is determined by what the dissolved elements are. If the water has interacted with silicarich rocks (e.g., sandstone), silica-rich minerals will form:
Silica (SiO2)-based minerals: amethyst (quartz); agate ; and the formation of opal. Of these, only opal is noncrystalline (ordered blobs of gel less than a micron in diameter).
If the water has interacted with copper-rich rocks, copper minerals will form:
Cu-bearing minerals: malachite and azurite; or turquoise.

This shows formation of agate, amethyst, opal, turquoise, and malachite/azurite. Note the importance of
alternating wet periods (when solutions are dilute and can dissolve a large amount of silica, copper, etc.) and dry
periods (when solutions evaporate and minerals precipitate).
The formation of gems by hydrothermal processes is not dissimilar to formation of gems from water near the
Earth's surface. The solutions involve rain water and/or water derived from cooling magma bodies< Gems
crystallize from solution when it encounters open spaces such as cracks. As a result, 'veins' of minerals fill
preexisting cracks. Minerals such as beryl (e.g., emerald), tourmaline need unusual elements, and some of these,
like beryllium (for beryl) or boron (for tourmaline) are derived from cooling molten rock (magma).

Pegmatites are unusual magma bodies. As the main magma body cools, water originally present in low
concentrations becomes concentrated in the molten rock because it does not get incorporated into most
minerals that crystallize. Consequently, the last, uncrystallized fraction is water rich. It is also rich in other weird
elements that also do not like to go into ordinary minerals.
When this water-rich magma (also rich in silica and unusual elements) is expelled in the final stages of
crystallization of the magma, it solidifies to form a pegmatite.
The high water content of the magma makes it possible for the crystals to grow quickly, so pegmatite crystals
are often large. Of course, this is important for gem specimens.
When the pegmatite magma is rich in beryllium, crystals of beryl form.
If magmas are rich in boron, tourmaline will crystallize.
You should note that beryllium and boron are extremely rare elements in most rocks and it is only because the
above process efficiently concentrates these unusual elements that crystallization of boron and beryllium-rich
minerals can occur.

This shows formation of crystals such as emeralds and tourmaline in pegmatite bodies associated with cooling
intrusive (magmatic) rocks.
Some gems crystallize in magmas or in gas bubbles (holes) in volcanic rocks. Examples include: zircon, topaz,
ruby, etc.

This shows formation of crystals such as ruby or zircon (pink crystals) and topaz in open cavities (e.g., holes
made by gas bubbles) in volcanic rocks.
Metamorphic rocks are rocks changed by heat, pressure, and interaction with solutions. There are a number of
types of metamorphic environments:
Plate tectonics creates metamorphic environments characterized by high temperature and high pressure produce jadeite (jade). In extremely rare cases, pressures in metamorphic rocks may be high enough that
diamonds form.
Regionally metamorphosed rocks: large volumes of rock that are buried and changed in response to increases in
pressure and temperature. Minerals found in these rocks might include gems such as garnet and cordierite.

This shows metamorphism of rocks resulting from continent-continent collision associated with a subduction.
The most abundant upper mantle mineral is olivine (peridot). Slabs of mantle material are brought to the
surface through tectonic activity and volcanism.
Deep mantle gems. Rocks such as kimberlites are erruptive volcanics that come from quite deep in the mantle
and carry with them diamonds. Diamonds are made from carbon. The stable form of carbon at the Earth's
surface is graphite. High pressures and temperatures are required to convert graphite to diamond. Thus, almost
all diamonds formed about 100 miles below the Earth's surface. Dates suggest that their formation was
restricted to in the first few billion years of Earth history.Rarely, diamonds are formed in very high temperature
and pressure metamorphic rocks.

This shows that diamonds do not form in the kimberlite magma but are carried up to the surface by the magma.
After rock is brought to the surface, gems may be released from the rock by weathering (some minerals dissolve,
others are transformed to clay minerals, and some others survive unchanged). The minerals that survive
unchanged may be washed into streams, etc., where they are concentrated by river / ocean processes.
Gems retrieved from alluvial deposits are often rounded due to rolling around in rivers and oceans.

Gems are often those minerals that are resistant to chemical weathering. They are commonly concentrated in
stream beds and beach sands in what are known as alluvial deposits.
Gems often have quite a high specific gravity (density) compared to other minerals so that they are easily
trapped in depressions in stream beds. This causes them to become concentrated and makes it easier to mine
them. Other valuable and durable things are also concentrated by these processes. Gold is a well known
Most gemstones form in the earth's crust, the top layer of the earth, with a depth of 3 to 25 miles. Only
gemstone varieties -- diamond and peridot -- form in the earth's mantle.
While a few gemstones originally formed in the mantle, all gems are mined in the crust. The crust is made up of
three kinds of rocks, known in geology as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.
2.1.8.a IGNEOUS
The long list of gemstones formed from igneous rock include the chrysoberyl group, all of the quartzes (including
amethyst, citrine and ametrine), the beryls (emerald, morganite and aquamarine), the garnets, moonstone,
apatite, diamond, spinel, tanzanite, tourmaline, topaz and zircon.
Gemstones associated with sedimentary rock include jasper, malachite, opal and zircon.
Gemstones associated with metamorphic rock include the beryls, jade, lapis lazuli, turquoise, spinel, ruby,
sapphire and zircon.


3. Types of Gemstones
3.1. Natural Gemstones
These have been formed in natural environment with no interference by human. They form in a variety of ways
in many different environments from many different chemical compounds. By the time they appear in our
jewelry they've been cut or polished, but they've not been treated or altered in other ways.
3.2. Genuine Gemstones
Genuine Gemstones are nothing but natural gemstones which are treated in some way to enhance its
appearance. A large percentage of natural gemstones are treated to enhance their appearance for jewelry
3.3. Synthetic Gemstones
A synthetic gemstone shares a natural stone's physical, chemical and optical qualities, but it is created in a
laboratory. Now-a-days, synthetic versions of nearly all popular gemstones are available. Some modern
synthetic gemstones look more natural and are more difficult to identify, but an experienced jeweler or
gemologist can usually detect them. Jewelry that includes quality synthetic gems can be just as beautiful as
jewelry made with natural stones.
3.4. Imitation or Simulated Gemstones
Imitation gemstones can be anything that resembles a natural gemstone but does not have the same physical
characteristics or chemical composition. These items are usually much less expensive than the natural forms.
Imitation stones are often made of glass or plastic and most can be detected easily by a jeweler.
3.5. Treated Gemstones
A number of techniques are used to improve the color and appearance of natural and synthetic gemstones.
Gemstone's beauty is enhanced, to increase the desirability and demand of the gemstone. Probably the oldest
method is that of heat treatment for gemstones to improve or change the color. As a result of recent advances
in technology, there are now many different techniques, which use modern equipment such as lasers, and
computer controlled heating and irradiating procedures. Lasers are used to drill holes into stones to reach
inclusions. These are then evaporated or removed using chemicals before the crack is filled. Some treatments
are permanent such as drilling while others may be temporary. For example stains and fillings may leak, some
heated, and irradiated stones may fade or revert to their original color.

4. Identification of Gemstones
Gemstones can be identified on the basis of using various equipments & methods:
a) Identification by refractive index
b) Identification by specific gravity
c) Identification by spectroscopy
a) Identification by refractive index:
One test to determine the gems identity is to measure the refraction of light in the gem. Every material has a
critical angle, at which point light is reflected back internally. This can be measured and thus used to
determine the gems identity. Typically, this is measured using a refractometer although it is possible to
measure it using a microscope.
b) Identification by specific gravity:
Specific gravity, also known as relative density varies depending upon the chemical composition and crystal
structure type. A heavy liquid with a known specific gravity is used to test loose gemstones.
Specific gravity is measured by comparing the weight of the gem in air with the weight of gem suspended in
c) Identification by spectroscopy:
This method uses a similar principle to how a prism works to separate white light into its component colours.
A gemological spectroscope is employed to analyze the selective absorption of light in the gem material.
Essentially, when light passes from one medium to another, it bends. Blue light bends more than red light.
Depending on the gem material, it will adjust how much this light bends. Colouring agents or chromophores
show bends in the spectroscope and indicate which element is responsible for the gems colour.

5. Properties of Gemstones
The physical properties of gemstones, their hardness, their specific gravity or density and they way they break,
depend on chemical bonding and the atomic structure within the stone.
Specific Gravity or Density
Cleavage and Fracture
Tenacity or Toughness
Magnetism and Electricity
Thermal Conductivity
Crystal Systems
5.1. Specific Gravity or Density
The specific gravity of a gem is its weight when compared with the same volume of water at a temperature of 4
degrees Celsius. The denser the minerals in the gemstone are, the heavier the weight or specific gravity will be.
Heavier gemstones are usually harder as well.
The range is from amber, which has a specific gravity of 1.08 and opal, with a specific gravity of 2.05, all the way up
to corundum (sapphires and rubies) with a specific gravity of 3.99, spessartite garnet, specific gravity of 4.15,
marcasite, specific gravity of 4.9, and cuprite (s.g., 6.0) and casseterite (s.g., 6.9). Diamond is in the heavy midrange, with a specific gravity of 3.52.

5.2. Hardness
Gemstones are often tested by using the Mohs hardness scale to determine just how hard they are. The harder
minerals are more durable in that they do not scratch easily and will hold up better in jewelry. Talc is the softest
mineral with a hardness of 1 and can be easily scratched with a fingernail. The gemstones with a rating of 7 or over
are relatively hard. Quartz gemstones (citrine, amethyst, etc.) range in the 7's, topaz rates 8, and corundum
(sapphires and rubies) are a 9 on the Mohs' hardness scale. Diamond registers a 10 and is the hardest known
naturally occurring material on earth, more than ten times the hardness of corundum at 9. There is more of a
spread between the gems and minerals found between 2 and 3 and between 5 and 6, however corundum is only
about 10 per cent harder than topaz.
The hardness is relative, but it is, nevertheless, a useful identification tool. Hardness is almost never used as a
separation test with gemstones since it is considered a destructive test and other nondestructive tests exist to
enable separation and identification
5.3. Cleavage and Fracture
Cleavage is the splitting of gems and minerals along one of the planes related to the stone's structure. Crystalline
minerals have cleavage and fracture, whereas amorphous or massive stones only fracture.
Cleavage is considered perfect or if the stone parts and produces perfect smooth planes (diamond, topaz) and is
very important in diamond-cutting.
Fracture is the way a stone breaks. Consider fracture to be similar to a piece of wood breaking in a direction other
than the direction of it's grain. Conchoidal fracture, which is most common in gemstones, shows a series of arcs
that spread outward.
When a gemstone breaks along a surface that is not related to its internal atomic structure, it is said to fracture.
5.4. Tenacity or Toughness
Tenacity or toughness is the ability of a stone to withstand pressure or impact. Minerals which crumble into small
pieces or a powder are said to be brittle. If a gem bends but returns to its original position, it is said to be elastic
(mica, nephrite, jadeite); these minerals are tough and difficult to break.
The jade gemstones (jadeite, nephrite) are the toughest of all gems, making them also difficult to cut. Talc and
gypsum are examples of minerals which are flexible. Ductile or malleable minerals are those (gold, silver, etc.)
which may be flattened out into thin sheets under pressure.
The brittleness factor of a gemstone is an important consideration in gem cutting and polishing. Many gem crystals
shatter or chip easily, and this must be taken into consideration when cutting.
5.5. Magnetism and Electricity
Those stones which are attracted by a magnet are considered magnetic, such as magnetite and hematite, which
contain iron. Most minerals and gems are poor conductors of electricity. Good natural conductors include native
metals and minerals with a metallic luster (pyrite). Natural blue diamond is a semi-conductor.
Some stones, such as tourmaline, become electrically charged when heated and are said to be pyroelectric.
Tourmaline is also piezoelectric; it becomes charged if stressed at certain points along the crystal. Quartz is an
important piezoelectric mineral and this factor is what makes it useful in electronic circuits and photoelectric
processes. Amber is triboelectric; it develops a negative electric charge when it is rubbed and attracts small
fragments to its surface.

5.6. Thermal Conductivity

Some stones are good conductors of heat, such as quartz, which draws heat away from the body when held and
thus feels cold to the touch. A poor thermal conductor, such as amber, feels warm to the touch because it does not
conduct heat away from the body. The surface of a genuine gemstone will de-mist more rapidly than that of glass
or an artificial stone.
Thermal conductivity should also be considered when cutting gemstones, as some stones will need a cooling-off
period during the cutting.
5.7. Crystal Systems
Although traditionally crystal systems are not part of the physical properties table of gemstones, but most mineral
gemstones are crystaline, with thier atoms arranged in regular and symmetrical patterns. Crystal systems are
classifed into seven different systems, according to the "minimum symmetry" of their faces.

Hexagonal/Trigonal This systems share the same axis of symmetry

Monoclinic The monoclinic system has a minimum symmetry of the one two-fold axis.

Cubic or Isometric Crystals in the cubic system have the highest symmetry. The minimum symmetry is
four-fold axes.

Tetragonal This system is defined by one four-fold axis.

Orthorhombic The minimum symmetry of this system is three two-fold axis.

Triclinic Crystals of this system have no axis of symmetry, so gemstones within this system are the least

The familiar diamond value factors of color, cut, clarity, and carat weight apply to colored gemstones as
well. However, each gemstone variety is judged by its own potential: no one expects an aquamarine to
have the same color as a sapphire or an emerald to be as flawless as an aquamarine. But there are a few
general rules you can use to judge gemstone quality.

6. 4 Cs of Diamond
6.1. Color

Some gemstones come in a multitude of colors, while others have more restricted palettes. Experts
analyze all these chromatic options in terms of three essential components: hue, tone, and saturation.
Hue is the basic color sensation blue, red, green, and so forth, plus blends like purplish red and violetblue. Tone is a colors lightness or darkness, and saturation is its visual intensity.
Colors of pure hue, medium tone, and high saturation are generally most valuable, but different kinds of
gems have differing potentials in this regard. For example, sapphire and tanzanite can reach a deeper
blue than aquamarine, topaz, or zircon. Color ranges can overlap to some extent, so different gemstones
may have the same color. Each is valued according to its own unique possibilities, however. Thus, the
particular tint that's considered "best" for one gemstone might be "medium" for another.
In buying decisions you need to be aware of color ranges and objective value assessments, but its best
to rely on your eyes and heart. Pure or mixed, light or dark, vivid or muted whichever color holds the
most appeal for you is the one to choose.

6.2. Cut

Choices in cut are almost as varied as for color and they're every bit as intriguing. Transparent colored
gemstones are most often faceted like diamonds, in dozens of geometric shapes and styles. The ancient
domed form known as the cabochon is traditional for gemstones like jade, opal and turquoise. It helps
to bring out the special optical effects seen in star gems and cats-eyes, too. Today many kinds of
gemstones are fashioned into carvings. These range from classic cameos and natural motifs to designs
that push the edge of abstract expression.
Whatever the technique may be, cut is chiefly responsible for revealing a gemstone's beauty. Its
contribution to appeal and value arises from the cutters artistic creativity, technical skill and patient
To judge the quality of cut, examine the gemstone as you hold it at arm's length and rock it gently back
and forth. The overall form ought to be pleasing and dynamically balanced. Color and light should dance
throughout a faceted gemstone, with no washed out "window" in the center or dead spots around the
edges. When you look close-up, details like facet shape need to be precise, with polished surfaces
appearing smooth and bright.
6.3. Clarity

Most kinds of colored gemstones may have internal characteristics or inclusions that it's possible to
see without magnification. Many of these are simply byproducts of the natural processes that create
gemstones within the Earth. Among the most common are tiny mineral crystals that became caught up
in larger gemstone crystals as they grew. As long as such inclusions aren't prominent, they dont
diminish a colored gemstones beauty or desirability, and have little effect on its value.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. You can expect a few gemstones to be "eye clean,"
with only microscopic clarity features. This list includes aquamarine, citrine, tanzanite, and topaz. On the
other hand, inclusions in emerald and red tourmaline may be fairly obvious, but won't have a major
impact unless theyre also unsightly.
It's important to recognize that inclusions have a positive side, too. They can prove that the gemstones
in which they occur are natural not synthetic or imitation. Scientists study inclusions to learn the
secrets of how gemstones form, and when viewed under a microscope, some are strikingly beautiful in
their own right.
6.4. Carat Weight

Like diamonds, most colored gemstones are weighed and priced by the carat. (One carat equals 1/5
gram.) As with color, however, different kinds of gemstones have differing weight potentials. A few
rarely exceed 5 carats in high quality. Many are readily available up to 15 or 20 carats and some can be
even larger.
For gemstones with limited weight ranges, per-carat prices usually climb steeply as the carat weight
goes up. For those with wider ranges, any increases tend to be more gradual. A 3-carat ruby might have
a per-carat price thats three times higher than a 1-carat ruby of the same quality. As a result, the larger
gemstone would cost nine times more than the smaller one. In contrast, a 5-carat amethyst is likely to
have about the same per-carat price as a 1-carat amethyst, so it will cost only five times as much.

Besides reflecting the natural rarity of larger gemstones, per-carat price can serve as an indication of
other value factors. If two gemstones of the same kind and weight have significantly different per-carat
prices, there will be differences in color, cut, or clarity, which you need to consider in a purchase

7. Gemstones Mining Methods

Gemstones are treasured by most of us and to retrieve these precious gems from deep down the earth
crust one has to go in for treasure hunt. Gemstone Mining is very complex and tedious process that
requires huge input of valuable resources such as time, workforce, equipments and knowledge etc.
There are different methods for recovering the gemstone from the lap of Mother Nature. The
appropriate procedure is selected depending upon the circumstances but no matter what method is
selected the entire process of gemstone mining needs to be very systematic as it costs a lot of money.
The total process of gemstone mining is so intricate that inspite of putting in so much efforts there is no
surety of the results. Failures and disappointments always have higher percentage than the success.
In order to attain the positive results, the first and foremost requirement of this exclusive process is to
identify the gemstone deposits. This necessitates the vast knowledge of gemstone properties, with the
help of this key the deposits are identified where there could be the probability of the finding the
precious and semi precious gems. The route of gemstone mining is executed all the way through highly
developed and technical system. But we all know, traditional methods have there own uniqueness that
cannot be denied even after developing new scientific methods. All the methods are categorized into
two types of mining viz. surface mining and underground mining. First always the surface mining is done
and then when fruitful results are not achieved underground mining is brought into action.
Underground mining is always more expensive because It takes long working hours.
For underground mining more advanced equipments are required.
There are extra costs incurred for activities such as pumping, electricity, digging etc.


Surface Mining

Surface Mining is done to obtain gemstones from the rocks near to the surface of the land. There are six
different types in which surface mining could be done. The miner decides on surface mining technique
depending up the overall cost and time. These methods are:


In this method powerful jets of water are used to loosen the gem material from the overburden. The
miners make channels on the rock/gravel hillsides in form of sluices where water under pressure is
sprayed. The water pressure splits down the rock and washes large rock piece of it downhill. And finally
the gems as raw stones are separated. This mining is very harmful for the environment as it wrecks the
mountains and blocks the rivers. Hydraulic surface mining was found way back in 1800s and continued
till 1960s but now it is stopped completely due to its disastrous consequences to the natural beauty.

Hydraulic mining


River Panning is the method where gemstones are collected while washing the gravels from a
river/stream in the mining area. It is also known as placer mining. This method is initiated with the
identification of the gravel which may contain gems. The best place to find the gravel deposits is in
obvious gemstone producing rivers, streams and creeks. Then a large pan is filled with water and
shaking it back and forth to settle the heavy material to the bottom of the pan. The lighter material is
washed over the top of the pan and larger rocks & pebbles are removed by scooping them over the
edge. These steps are repeated until there is only about a tablespoon or two of concentrates left in the
pan. Nearly all panning is completed using the riffles in the pan.
The left over concentrated is then shifted to a smaller clean pan. Drop of liquid soap is added to keep
the tiny chips from "floating." The less weighty material shall float down with the water and the gems, in
case the gems are there, it shall stick and stay at the upper end of the pan. This is a very time consuming
method and the chances of success are very less.

River Panning, image: Science Photo Library



This mining can only be accomplished under the guidance of an experienced Gemologist. First he
scrutinizes the location to be mined with respect to value of the rock and minerals below the surface,
cost of digging the mine and the after effects of mining on the environment. The monetary value of
rocks and minerals keeps appreciating over the years so once it is profitable to mine then only open pit
mining is done.
Once the location is finalized, layers of the land are removed one after the other till rocks are visible.
Then the rocks are removed and gems are searched for in the rocks and sent for further processing.
Sometimes explosives like dynamite are used to reach deeper and deeper to recover the required rock
possessing the gems. After the mining is done, the area turns into pit which is used as landfill. Landfill is
huge open space used for dumping the garbage. Once it is fill it is covered the layer of mud. Finally when
the trash decomposes in long run and land can be again used for some other purpose apart from mining.
This mining method is relatively easy and cost effective. However, it is performed only when rocks are
near to the surface of the land.

Open pit Ekati diamond mine



This process is very similar to open pit mining. The mining site is identified; the trees and bushes are
removed with the help of the bulldozer. The remains are dumped at the nearby area. Many small-small
holes are drilled distant from one another through the rock. Dynamite are placed inside these holes and
blasted to get the rocks with gemstones. Raw stones then are sent for further processing. This mining is
done in long strips so it is called as strip mining. Once the first strip is completed, the second strip starts.
The dirt obtained in making the second strip is dumped in the first strip. Similarly it goes on till the entire
site is worked on. And in the last strip the remains of the first strip is filled in. The top layer is of mud
that is leveled on all the strips together making the land ready of re-use.


In this mining method, the mountain top at the ground level is cleaned by cutting the trees and shrubs.
Then using the dynamite the top of the mountain is blasted for making the vein. This gives huge blocks
of rocks from which the gemstone in unprocessed form are retrieved. The dirt obtained after the blast is
dumped into the valleys with the help of bull dozers and trucks.


This mining method is quite less hazardous to the environment. The rock attained from this mining is
used for making buildings. Therefore, the way quarrying is to be done depends upon the purpose of reuse of rock. The rocks are drilled to use the left over for cement, it is blasted with dynamite to use the
rocks for the interiors of the house like flooring, kitchen slabs. In any of the method after getting the
rock the gemstones are searched and then the rocks are spared for re-use.


Underground Mining

Underground mining is done when surface mining is not possible or does not yield rewarding results.
Moreover, precious gemstones are mostly found through underground mining. In the method the
miners make underground rooms where they further dig the ground more and deeper. Underground
mining is done in numerous ways. These are


As the name suggests holes are drilled very deep inside the plain land. In these holes a long huge tube
(having enough space to allow the water to pass through) is dropped. Then water is pushed down the
tubes with the force, the water hits the rock and breaks it down. The water combines with the rocks, dirt
and mud to make slurry. This mixture is pumped back from the tubes and stored into tanks. The
unwanted water is thrown out the left over rocks are processed for gems. This method is very much
environment friendly and the shifting from one place to another is quite easy.


This mining is done on the mountain sides. Rock are identified which are on the sides of the mountain.
The opening is made below the identified rock. These opening are made horizontally and are known as
tunnels/drifts. From the drifts the desired materials are retrieved as due to gravity the material comes
down the hill easily. This is one of the cheapest gemstone mining methods and gives good results as


In this method, vertical tunnels are created below the mountains and through the lift miners moves up
and down the mines. The vertical tunnels are called as shafts. Two shafts are created. One is used for
the movement of the miners inside the shafts and the other shaft for brining the material on the
ground. From the man shaft, small tunnels are made that reaches the rocks possessing the gems. These
small tunnels are used for blasting and when the rocks breaks into small chunks those are brought up on
the ground through the second shaft. After the work is finished the mines are closed by refilling the
shafts with dirt, mud, pebbles and cement etc. This is quite a costly method.


Slope mining too has shafts but these shafts are first made slant and then parallel to the ground.
Usually, this mining is done when it is not possible to make the straight shafts therefore it is named as
slope mining. The tunnels are not very deep in the gemstone mining method. Using the conveyor the
broken are rocks are brought out.


Same as drift mining, tunnels are made inside the grounds instead of mountains. First a small opening is
made which is referred as Adit. Later, using Adit, tunnels are made vertically deep down the ground
using explosives like dynamite. The tunnels are called as shafts. Like wise many shafts are made and
each one has a different function. For examples - one could be used for miners going inside and coming
back to the ground, second for air ventilation and so on. At the end of the shaft, there one more shaft is

made that leads to the rock that contains gemstones. Deep inside the earth crust many different floors
are created and one floor after the other is completed. This is the most dangerous gemstone mining
method and therefore is brought into practice quite less.

Hard Rock Tanzanite Mining

In all the mining methods the rocks are broken into medium or small chunks using the explosives such as
dynamite. The broken rocks are then sent to the other processing plant where the gemstones are
obtained in the form of raw stone. These raw stone reach to the next level of gemstone processing that
involves cleaning, cutting and polishing etc. The gemstone that finally gets mounted to the awesome
jewelry pieces, from the scratch passes through the numerous steps that involve the sweat of many
It is very easy and classy to wear the gemstone jewelry but the amount of hard work involved in
obtaining these precious and semi-precious gemstones through the mining methods is immense.
Gemstone mining methods are certainly mind-numbing and it is an exclusive proficiency of finding
inimitable raw stones from mines that are crafted into amazing gemstone jewelry.

8. 10 Important Gemstones
The ten varieties of gemstones shown here represent some of the worlds best known gems. All are
popular and highly prized, but some are far rarer than others.



Alexandrite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl that
changes color when exposed to different light sources. The best alexandrite shifts from an emerald
green to a ruby red.


Aquamarine is a blue variety of beryl. The name aquamarine, from Latin aqua marina, means sea water.
The best of the gem-quality aquamarine is found in Brazil.


Diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth. Diamond's exceptional luster and brilliant fire has made it one
of the most favored gemstones.


Emerald is a green variety of the mineral beryl that derives its green color from the presence of
chromium and sometimes vanadium.


There are several types of opal. Common opal (or potch opal) is opal with no play-of-color. Opal with a
play-of-color, the most unique and popular kind, is called precious opal. The body color of the precious
opal may be light, dark, boulder, and black.


Ruby is a red variety of the mineral corundum. In ancient time, ruby was called ratnaraj which mean
king of gemstone.


Sapphire is a gem variety of corundum. Usually, blue corundum is called sapphire and other colors are
called fancy sapphires.


Spinel is one of the beautiful and rare gemstones. This gem can be found in a range of colors, from
pinks, oranges, red, lavender, blue to black.


Most topaz is colorless, pale grey, or light brown when mined. Natural color topaz is rare and occurs in a
range of colors, from yellow, orange and pink.


Tourmaline is the most colorful gemstone. It is found in every color of the rainbow, in many shades and

9. References.