AZGem Gems
May, 2004
The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Gem Origins - Africa

Gem origins - Africa... and I'm talking a lot more than diamonds.

We're all familiar with Africa as the major source for diamonds. African nations such as South Africa, Central African Republic, Angola, and the Democratic Republic Of The Congo are world renowned as diamond producers.

You may not be aware that a number of countries south of the great Sahara Desert region established themselves as major producers of colored gems during the twentieth century.

Last month we reviewed the gem production of Nigeria., the most important gem producer in East Africa. At The Dorado Company we're very familiar with Nigeria's gem stones. We get rough from two mining operations there in exchange for hosting their websites. and 

Africa produces a wonderful array of gem types, and colors, many of which are found nowhere else.

Here's an overview of the colored gem production of (central and southern) Africa.

Amethyst is mined in a number of locations in Africa. Namibia and Zambia are known for high quality gems.

Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, and other members of the beryl family are found in Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Zambia is especially noted for it's quality emerald.

Zambia is also gaining recognition as a producer of citrine  and garnet as well as the amethyst and emerald mentioned above.

Red, pink, and green Tourmaline is produced in several countries. Rare yellow tourmaline from Malawi and fine blue tourmaline (indicolite) from Namibia are among the newest tourmaline gems coming from Africa.

Garnet in many colors are produced in Africa. Several species of African garnets are highly prized in the gem and jewelry worlds.

Spessartite (hot orange), Malaya (pink-orange) and Mozambique (orange-red) garnets are all highly valued members of the garnet family.

Perhaps the most highly prized is the intensely green tsavorite garnet found in Kenya and Uganda.

Violet-blue Iolite is produced in several countries, including South Africa and Mozambique. Iolite is also known as water sapphire.

Tanzanite is perhaps the most unique gem coming from Africa. This beautiful and popular gem comes from one small area in Tanzania. Tanzanite has become both popular and relatively expensive.

Spinel is another important gem produced in Tanzania. This lower priced first cousin to sapphire is gaining many new fans in the custom jewelry market. Spinel is also mined in Malawi, South Africa, and to a lesser extent in some other African countries.

Ruby and sapphire in blues and fancy colors are mined in several African countries. Perhaps the most important producers are Tanzania, Malawi. and Kenya.

Some gem dealers simply list gem origins - Africa, but we know that Africa is a huge continent. Africa is home to many countries that produce beautiful and unique gems.

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Industry News

The Vegas Shows are just a few days away. We'll let you know what's new in next month's newsletter.

Colored Stone Magazine's show guide has the latest information... 



Jewelry Dealers

Are you making up new pieces of jewelry to rebuild and upgrade your inventory depleted by holiday sales? Now is a good time to work at this fun and vital task.

We've recently received some new emerald, morganite, sapphire, peridot, and chrome diopside from our cutters.

As usual, all these gems are in sizes appropriate for center stones in  rings  and pendants.

Send me an email for information on gems that interest you.


Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.

Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232