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My close friend Shawn, who is an amazing gem hunter, was born in Pakistan and earlier this year travelled to his home country in search of gem rough. His quest took him into the remote Zagi Mountains where he came across miners hunting a gem known as Bastnäsite.
This brown gemstone, which looks similar in appearance to a translucent Smokey Quartz, was first unearthed in Sweden in the early 1800s and was named after the Bastnäs Mine where it was discovered.
Although not a rare mineral (Bastnäsite can be found in America, Africa, China and Mongolia), ‘gem quality’ material is virtually unheard of. So far we have only acquired several pieces, however Shawn is planning another trip soon and we hope to be able to discover more pieces in the future.
Also spelt ‘Bastnaesite’, the gem is also very unusual in that it contains a large percentage of the element cerium. One of the latest discoveries is said to be Ambatofinandrahana in Madagascar; however we have yet to see them ourselves. For now the only deposit we are sourcing from is the Kunar Province in Afghanistan.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
Members of the British Jewellery Association
Members of the Coloured Gemstone Assocation