it is always interesting to get materials from new discoveries. Often, however, it takes a long time for news about recent finds to filter through the system and by that time some of the bigger players in the market have cornered the supply. In particular, Sri Lankan and Thai buyers have agents on the scene all the time and are able to purchase entire initial production and secure all future production. Consequently the ability of cutters and lapidaries to get their hands on new finds is limited. Once the materials pass through the Thai or Sri Lankan ( or Indian or Chinese ) industry they are almost always cut and often labelled quite generically as Madagascan or East African or just African. The actual source is not revealed.
Since we have contacts on many important international gem fields, we often are told of new finds and are offered parcels before they become widely known. One of the most important gem locations over the last decade or two has been Nigeria. In this country there are regular new discoveries, some extremely significant. Nigeria has been a world renowned source for pink, red and green tourmaline for quite a while. A sensational discovery of Paraiba type tourmaline was only the second known source in the world. It has since been found in Mozambique. We were fortunate to be told of its discovery and secure parcels from the original find. We have since been able to get examples of more recent finds. This year there have been new deposits of tourmaline discovered and we were made aware of them before they became more widely known. There was a brilliant green, a pale blue/green, bicolour and pink deposit. There were also sapphire blue tourmalines.
Early 2016 saw a deposit of colour change garnet, the first for Nigeria, being discovered. The initial production was a zircon yellowish brown to yellowish green changing to brilliant red. Later production included champagne and greenish to bluish greens changing to pink and red. Quite spectacular. There have also been rhodolite garnet discoveries of nice colour and size.
A spectacular phenakite was being produced from an area near Jos a few years ago. The extremely clear crystals were incredibly complex, looking more like spessartite garnets. They ranged up to 500 cts. It was a single mine source of world significance and we were again fortunate enough to get early warning and purchased a number of parcels.
The world of sapphires was turned on its head a few years ago when world class blue stones were found in south eastern Nigeria. It was reported that a single stone of around 300 cts was sold for US$1 million before cutting. The stones had almost no examples of green cross tables, being what is known as blue on blue and blue on white. Our Nigerian contact was on the scene and was able to supply a substantial number of stones up to 20 cts. What got less publicity than the blues was the small number of excellent greens, yellows, blue/yellow bicolours and pinks that also came from the same deposit. We managed to secure a representative sample of these.
Other interesting finds in recent times which we have purchased include truly red zircons which, I am reliably informed, will heat treat to blue if that is what you want. I think I prefer the red. Nigerian aquamarine has been producing excellent colour, size and clarity for a number of years from secondary ( alluvial ) deposits, but recent primary deposit discoveries are now on the market. While on the subject of beryls, Nigeria's morganites, again a recent discovery, are among the best natural coloured morganites available. They range from light to bright pink, peach to apricot and orange pink. There are also green and yellow beryls coming out.
Here at BRGemstones we continue to seek out the latest and best materials from recent finds and offer them to amateurs and professionals alike. Keep an eye on our listings as new materials become available. Happy cutting.