Jungle Gems Newsletter August 2003

Hello from the fabulous Amazon region of Brasil.

We have been all around Brasil this month; from quartz, tourmaline and emerald country in Minas Gerais to the topaz and fire opal fields of Rondonia. We are currently packing for a trip to Belem Para, a port city at the mouth of the Amazon River, which is downriver a few thousand miles from where we are writing from today. We hope you enjoy this months gem trade related news, rumors, and gossip… fresh from the Amazon jungle at www.jungle-gems.com

First of all, I have to say that I’m gaining new respect for real writers that can get their articles completed when they are due. I just can’t seem to get this newsletter out on time. How do real writers write this stuff when they don’t really feel like it? I think it’s worse for someone like me who doesn’t know anything about writing. I’m just a rockhound that struggled with every high school writing assignment I ever had! But, I have friends, family, and clients wondering what happened to the August newsletter… so here we go once again.

The 13th Annual Feira International de Pedras Precioso (FIPP) held in Teofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, ran from August 19th through August 22nd 2003. It was bigger and better than ever. We were very pleased to see a few of our newsletter readers in town, some for the first time. The show was a success for us, and most dealers agreed that the turnout was great and everyone is anxious to get together again next year. The scope of this newsletter does not allow for a complete report, but you can see photos below of some of the goods that we liked best… and some of the visitors and dealers at this years’ show.

Of course we think our own Amazon Amber/Copal was the most beautiful new find at the show. Our goods accept a very high polish and are beautiful both with and without insect inclusions. Photos can be seen on the website on the Amazon Amber page…

We found a new tool at the show this year. Some of you mining adepts might consider this old news, but for us it was a dream come true. The side angle tunnel-wall drill is the perfect compliment for our computerized ground penetrating radar system that we use to analyze and map underground pre-tunneled pegmatites. When we first began applying our system here in Brasil, in 1997, we looked for something just like this to help us penetrate and identify our “data-anomolies” instead of having to tunnel into them. This tool will save us much time in evaluating our data in the search for gem bearing pockets. We hope to have one in use later this year.

ATTN DEALERS: We would like to offer our newsletter subscribers access to our dealer area of the website. Our procedures for obtaining a password have been too complex and cumbersome for most dealers to take the time to obtain access. My webmasters thought we ought to protect dealer prices from the general public, but as I have reviewed our mailing list subscribers I see that most of you are dealers in the trade. Therefore, we are giving all of you subscribers unsolicited access. On the lower right hand corner of the main index page you will see “dealers click here”. You can enter the area with this info/name: gemstone / password: dealer. I hope the overview of dealer prices and availability is useful, and please feel free to pass on access info to other dealers only.

Rondonia Report: We finally can report some new production from our Amazon Opal Mine. We have been struggling with this mine for a long time now, but all miners know that persistence will pay off, if you are digging in the right spot. After wondering for many months just where the right spot to dig is, we are now enjoying our best production since getting involved with this project about 3 years ago. As usual, we are allowing a period of time to study our opal’s stability, and will have faceted gemstones available in the coming months. Currently we are cutting all of our still limited production in calibrated goods. Please let us know your cutting preferences, if calibrated Amazon Opal is something you can use.

More BIG Rondonian News: Sometimes rumors turn real. We have found the source of the golden rutile in white quartz, which we have mentioned as rumor in various newsletters over the past year or so. The material comes in various grades of clarity as expected, but the pleasant surprise is the large blocks of clean material that have already been extracted. We hope to help extract a sizable amount of golden rutilated quartz, and plan to ship the goods to Teofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais. If you have any interest in large quantities of rough material in rutilated quartz, please contact us.

More rumors turning real: many months ago we showed you photos of some aquamarine and heliodor purportedly from Rondonia. We now have found more nicely terminated, clean with very good color aquamarines and a terminated heliodor of decent color, as well as the mysterious source for this material… right here in the State of Rondonia Brasil. The mine owners allowed me to take 3 sample stones, shown in the photo below, back to Minas Gerais with me. Testing facilities in the jungle are more rare than a fine gemstone, but in Teofilo Otoni I was able to ask for assistance from our long-time friend David Epstein, GG, from Precious Resources ltda. David is the only other full time American gem trader in our town with decades of experience sharing our praca. I trust his expertise, and was very happy to have his help. David confirmed my suspicions that I had aquamarine and heliodor crystals. The mineowners are seeking investors to assist in the extraction of more gem material from their source… let us know if you have any interest in funding and operating a gemstone mine in the Amazon!

Note: We will be adding photos of the aquamarine and heliador crystals to our our online version of the newsletter soon.

More confirmed rumors possible? Yes… (we had a big month). Our long sought source of local petrified wood has been found, albeit was over 1500km due east of here. There is some nice material coming from the Brasilian State of Tocantins. Some color zoning, it accepts a fine polish, and is available in pieces up to 5” diameter for slabs.

Rumors continue to persist regarding gem grade tourmaline in Rondonia. We still are seeking validity, but our recent success with confirming rumors as fact has given us new hope that perhaps we will find the rumored tourmaline source as well. When we do you’ll be the first to know, right here in the jungle-gems.com newsletter.

We sadly report the death of our fellow topaz dealer in Rondonia, known in the trade as Gilson. Just a few short months ago Gilson was assaulted in his topaz buying office, in downtown Ariquemes, and was shot twice while trading shots with the would-be thief. While still recuperating from his gunshot wounds, he failed to land his private aircraft on one of our treacherous dirt/mud airstrips and died in the crash along with 3 others. We will miss one of our own out here in Rondonia.

On a happier note, we are proud to announce the addition of one more GIA Graduate Gemologist to our staff: Mrs. Agatha, my Mom J. She is doing well at 80-something, and is here in Rondonia making sure things are OK. She loves our warm climate, lush vegetation, and fine living here in the Amazon. She sends her regards to all of our readers…

Thx for reading our newsletter. See you next month ~ Kirk “Tomas” Bond