Learning Center

Gem Mining

Visit mine sites across the globe and learn about the business and practice of gem mining. Our videos will take you up close and personal.

20 ARTICLES 5 VIDEOS 1 PRODUCTS
Article
Burma’s Jade Mines – An Annotated Occidental History

The history of Burma’s jade mines in the West is a brief one. While hundreds of different reports, articles and even books exist on the famous ruby deposits of Mogok, only a handful of westerners have ever made the journey to northern Burma’s…

Article
A Journey to Burma’s Jade Mines

It is morning in Hweka, deep in northern Burma’s Kachin State. Outside the window, the roar of the river below awakens us from our slumber, nudging us groggily into yet another day. Already it has been four long days since leaving Mandalay;…

Article
The Story of Red Spinel

The gem’s first known owner was Abu Said, a Moorish prince of Granada in Spain in the mid-1300s. Abu Said lost the gem, as well as his crown and his life, to Don Pedro the Cruel of Seville. In 1366 Don Pedro’s own brother attacked him in turn, but Don…

Article
Minerals and Gemstones Formation

Do you know what diamonds, rubies, and emeralds are? “Jewels” is the answer most people offer. It’s an accurate answer, but it doesn’t tell the fascinating story behind these treasures from nature.

Article
Yellow-Green and Green Beryl

Yellow-green beryl has achieved ‘desired gem’ status with consumers just within the last few years. Museums were eager to acquire spectacular specimens, while connoisseurs sought it for their collections. However, fashion trendsetters…

Article
The Secret Life of Rocks

Think they just lie around? Oh, no! Rocks are constantly meeting, mingling, and occasionally making gemstones.

Every so often you hear about a miner who literally trips over a rock, or takes a good. hard look at the ground in just…

Article
Tanzanian Burma Ruby

High quality ruby is being mined in the province of Rukwa , in the southern highlands of Tanzania , according to local sources. Miners in the region are calling the material “Burma” or “pigeon blood” ruby, a reference to the most desirable colors…

Article
Gemstone Exploration Techniques

The most widely-used gemstone exploration techniques today are ground-penetrating radar, known as GPR; trace-element analysis, which involves seeking signature elements as clues to where gems may lie; and use of a device called a ‘terra…

Article
The Truth About Gem Smuggling

Gem smuggling, The term evokes pictures of swashbuckling pirates and trench-coated international spies. The reality is far more gritty and physically dangerous on an individual level. Real smugglers, known as “mules,” often carry stones…

Article
Afghanistan’s Ruby and Spinel Mines

Afghanistan’s ruby/spinel mines are one of the great mysteries of gemology. Historically, rubies and red spinels have been produced from four areas: Burma, Sri Lanka, the Thai/Cambodian border (ruby only; no red spinel) and Afghanistan.…

Article
Tanzanite Mines Interrupted

While a worldwide shortage in gem rough sends prices spiralling upward, gem deposits in Africa are lying unworked, or underworked, due to lack of development funds. A prime example of the problem is northern Tanzania — including the well-known…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – Asia

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – Africa

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – Central and South America

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – North America

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – The Middle East

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – Eastern Europe

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005 – Australia

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
The Furor Over Feldspar

All-natural Oregon sunstone and similar-looking treated andesine once sold as natural are locked in apples-and-oranges competition that is both unfair and unnecessary.Until recently, brick- and salmon-red sunstone — both clear and…

Video
Infiltrating Colombia’s Shady Emerald Mines

Money and Madness (1998) – Penetrating the shady world of Colombia’s emerald dealers, we meet private armies and pistol-packing miners. Colombia boasts some gruesome statistics. The leading cause of death for individuals…

Video
Process: Beach Glass Jewelry with Wildpen

I have met a few cockatoos in my day, but on this day, in early June, I met Sunny and FlaxMan, two Umbrella Cockatoos who help run wildpen, an Etsy shop where they sell handmade (er… beak- and talon-made) gifts. Unfortunately, Hope, a Moluccan…

Video
Inside the Crystal Palace

Geologist Juan Manuel Garca-Ruiz calls it “the Sistine Chapel of crystals,” but Superman could call it home. A sort of south-of-the-border Fortress of Solitude, Mexico’s Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) contains…

Video
Mining Boulder Opal in Koroit, Queensland, Australia

Mining Boulder Opal in Koroit, Queensland, Australia. Here is a quick (& amateurishly done) look at mining boulder opal in the outback of southwest Queensland, Australia. This shows my mine that is an area called Koroit. In Koroit there…