AZGem Gems
August, 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 website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Gem Origins - Australia

Gem origins are of interest to many gem fanciers. This is another in our occasional series highlighting gem producing countries and regions.

This month we visit Australia, a major player in the industry.

Let's start with the obvious... opal. When speaking of gem origins and Australia, opal comes immediately to most people's minds. 

The world's primary producer of opal, Australia has several opal fields scattered across its harsh desert regions.

Lightning Ridge in the far south of the Northern Territory is known for yielding fine black opals.

Coober Pedy is located in South Australia, west of Lake Eyre and  is world famous for it's opal production and underground housing,

I think every state on the Australian mainland has one or more opal fields. Some of the other fields are White Cliffs (NSW), Mintabie, Andamooka, and the fields in western Queensland .

Australia the pearl factory... beautiful, large South Sea pearls are farmed in a number of locations along the coasts of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland.

A large quantity of corundum comes from Australia. Their sapphires are known for being a dark, inky blue, and many of them are. But Australia's gem gravels produce sapphires of many colors and qualities... including fine blues.

As with many other sapphire mining areas, the rough gems are in the gravels of ancient riverbeds, buried under several yards of earth.

The best known fields are in Queensland. That state's huge Anakie gem fields are located about 300 km west of Rockhampton.

A new ruby mine is being developed just north of Sydney, in New South Wales.

This gem field is producing facet grade pink sapphire and ruby in test trenches. There aren't many places in the world producing gem rubies in commercial quantities.

Many other colored gems are found in Australia, including:

  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Beryl
  • Chalcedony
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Jade
  • Olivine
  • Quartz
  • Spinel
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Zircon

Colored gems make Australia a major player in today's gem and jewelry industry. While many finds have been made so far, it is predicted that many, many more gem deposits are waiting to be discovered. 

Australia is also a major producer of diamonds. We'll talk about Australian diamond pipes, cognac colored gems, and much more next month.

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Industry News

President Bush imposed trade sanctions against Burma on July 28th, 2003.

By signing "The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act," he closed the U.S. market to imports from Burma (Myanmar). The ban goes into effect on August 28.

The action was taken in response to the recent arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Burma produces fine ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and jade.


Tanzania is tightening control over tanzanite.

In the spring of 2002, Tanzania put tanzanite exports under tight regulation. This was done with the cooperation of gem industry leaders after a rumor was spread that terrorists were profiting in the tanzanite trade.

The rumor remains unproven, but the controls are still in place.

Now the Tanzanian government is moving to completely control the tanzanite trade. By 2005 all tanzanite will be required to be cut within the country, eliminating the export of rough material.

Tanzanian miners and traders are also calling on the government to set price controls on rough and cut stones.

Greed is about to kill another goose!


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
  • buy a compatible mounting from a listed manufacturer
  • 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


P.S. If you want to build a profitable website, I recommend SBI! 


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