7 Gemstones from Brazil

Posted on the 11th June 2014

To celebrate the 2014 World Cup, which is hosted in Brazil throughout June and July, we asked Holts gem expert Alexia to talk us through the world of Brazilian stones: 1. Emerald Emerald is the deep green variety of Beryl. It has a hardness of 7.5-8.0 and it is one of the famous “Big 3” gemstones. Compared to other gemstones it is usually included, but it’s unparalleled vivid colour makes it one of the most desirable gems! Some of the highest quality Emeralds come from Brazil, more specifically from the Piteiras mine in the Minas Gerais state and they tend to be slightly more blue than Columbian Emeralds due to their increased iron component. 2. Tourmaline Tourmaline is one of the species with the widest range of colours, covering most of the rainbow spectrum from pink, orange and yellow, to green, blue and brown. It has a hardness of 7.0-7.5 and Tourmaline rough crystals are as sought-after as the faceted ones. Paraiba is the most prized variety of Tourmaline; its unique colour is a neon greenish blue mostly due to the presence of copper. Its name derives from the Paraiba state in Brazil where the stones was initially found in the Mina da Batalha mine. 3. Chrysoberyl Chrysoberyl is a species with many desirable varieties, such as Alexandrite and Cat’s-eye Chrysoberyl. Alexandrite is a phenomenal stone that displays the colour-change effect; it is greenish blue under daylight and purplish red under incandescent light. It has a hardness of 8.5 which makes it one of the hardest stones after Diamond and Corundum. Nowadays some of the highest quality Alexandrites are mined in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. 4. Topaz Topaz is also one of the species that come in almost every colour and its faceted stones tend be very transparent and clean. Imperial Topaz is amongst the most valuable varieties. The colour of Imperial Topaz ranges between a reddish orange to a deep orangey-yellow and it has a hardness of 8. The finest-quality of reddish and orange Topaz is mined in the Ouro Prêto area of Brazil. 5. Aquamarine Aquamarine is the bright greenish blue variety of Beryl. Its hardness is 7.5-8.0 and although there is a translucent variety, most Aquamarine crystals are transparent and free from inclusions. Brazil has been the most important source of Aquamarines since 1811 and most of the larger crystals ever found come from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. 6. Quartz Like Topaz and Tourmaline, the varieties of Quartz range from yellow, pink and purple to green, brown and even colourless. Quartz has a hardness of 7 and it is one of the most commonly used gemstones in jewellery. Amethyst is its most coveted variety and its colour varies from light violet to deep and strongly-saturated purple. Most of her worlds Amethyst is mined in Brazil and more specifically in the states of Pará and Rio Grande Do Sul in Brazil. Amethyst from Pará is often called “Marabá” and has a characteristic light but evenly distributed colour. 7. Andalusite Andalusite is mostly known for its very strong pleochroism. When cut in elongated shapes its colour is usually yellowish green or olive green in the centre and orange to reddish brown on the sides. It has a hardness of 7.5 and on its crystal form it is transparent and usually eye-clean. Chiastolite is a translucent to opaque variety of Andalusite which displays a characteristic cross-shaped graphite inclusion against a de-saturated dark pink or light brown body-colour. Nowadays Brazil is one of the main sources of Andalusite.