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Better known for its wines than gemstones, but worthy of a mention.

The Andes Mountains in Chile are in the press a lot at the moment for their award-winning wines; but at an altitude of 11,000 feet, some of the best quality Lapis Lazuli in the world is mined.

Though their Lapis Lazuli displays beautiful patterns through a higher than normal percentage of golden pyrite inclusions, many people are disappointed with its colour, as it is not as deep as that from Afghanistan.

The only other gemstone mined in Chile is Phosphosiderite. This gem has a wonderful purplish colour similar to that of an orchid.

Even though the country has hundreds of active and dormant volcanoes - which would normally yield dozens of different gemstones, including Diamonds - as yet very few other gems have been found. Therefore if you want to own a product of Mother Nature from Chile, I would recommend either their Chardonnay or Malbec. If you’re not a wine drinker, try skiing or snow boarding in Chile, their slopes are amongst the best in the world.

Do keep your eyes on the web because one of my best gem hunting friends is currently in Chile and is convinced there are more discoveries to be made in this country.

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