AZGem Gems
July, 2003
The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

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

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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.

 

Gem Origins - Central Asia

Gem origins, or the birthplace of colored stones, always seem to be in some far off, dangerous, and difficult-to-even-reach spot on the planet.

Is it because the easy to reach and work gem origins have been mined out centuries ago?

Or maybe the geological processes that cause gem crystals to form leave the landscape so twisted people avoid the area?

Could it be largely mythical, stories encouraged by some miners and dealers to discourage others from getting in on the action at the source?

In the case of gemstones from Central Asia, the stories seem to be all too true. The far western side of the Himalayan Mountains produces some of the world's finest gems...

Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the well known countries in this region, largely due to recent terriorist activities. But have you ever even heard of Kazakistan, Kyrgistan,  Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan?

  • Gorgeous blue sapphires from Afghanistan and the Kashmir region of India - Pakistan

  • Bold rubies from Afghanistan and Tajikistan

  • Fine emeralds from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan

  • Wonderfully colored spinels from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan

  • Beautiful peridot from Pakistan and Afghanistan

These are only a few of the gem stones with origins in this remote corner of our world.

While emerald and aquamarine are the beryl family members drawing first attention, all of the known beryl colors occur here.

Pink topaz occurs in Tajikistan and far western China, and most likely in other countries of the region.

Very limited communications and transportation make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of many gem deposits in this corner of the world.

Gem resource surveys and mapping attempts have been started, and then delayed or abandoned due to wars, bandits, and politics in the past twenty years.

A total lack of banking facilities, secure shipping, and other services required by the gem and other industries severely restrict the business outlook for Central Asia.

Other gem varieties including kunzite, tourmaline, turquoise, lapis, demantoid garnet, zircon, and chrysoberyl are also mined in this land-locked,  mountainous region.

The vast distances over towering mountains, through high river valleys, and across international borders in harsh weather is enough to discourage most gem dealers from traveling to the area, but these aren't the only dangers.

Tribal warlord's armies, bandits, terrorists, and minor government officials demanding bribes dissuade most others from traveling the region.

From what we hear from people in the industry, the gem producing areas of northern Afghanistan are as dangerous as they have ever been... even during the war with the Soviet Union!

But the gems are gorgeous, so ways are found, as they have been for centuries.

A few hardy traders venture into the region to get first pick, but others are content to wait for the gems to reach a less dangerous location.

Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's lawless North West Frontier Province, is the unofficial gem trading center for the region.

Gems mined in the region traditionally come to this market, and so do the traders. Rough gems can be shipped from here with relative security.

So at least for Central Asia gem origins really do occur in remote, dangerous places.

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Industry News

The economy continues to show improvement.

  • DeBeers, the international heavyweight in diamond mining and sales, reports another increase in sales for last quarter
  • An important economic indicator for the gem and jewelry industry is luxury goods... which also reported an increase last quarter
  • Even Target Stores reports strong gains in jewelry sales

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Build That Website

I continue to get question about building websites. Sites on all kinds of subjects, some hobby sites, some for-profit sites.

We just don't have time to build and operate a lot of sites. We only do a very few for gem miners who pay us in high quality rough.

Besides, you can build a better site cheaper with that new Site Build It! product my husband is using on his  http://www.south-of-flagstaff-arizona.com/ site. He loves it.

Check out SBI at http://buildit.sitesell.com/az.html.

If you want a website it's the best way to go.

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Jewelry Dealers

Now is the time to build your inventory for the coming season.

You should be buying...

  • finished jewelry pieces
  • loose gems
  • mountings
  • gold chain

You can buy some finished pieces from us or one of the other suppliers listed in your dealer information.

You know how to buy a loose gem from us and a compatible mounting from a listed manufacturer and have your trade shop set the gem to make a custom piece.

You should also have a few gold chains in stock. Look in your dealer info for a supplier... or check with me. Send an e-mail to carolyn@azgem.com.

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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