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Africa's Big 5 Gemstones

Gemstones from Africa
Gemstones from Africa

You have probably heard of Africa’s big five game animals, the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo. Thankfully, they are photographed not shot these days.

But what about Africa’s other Big Five? Gemstones. I have picked the perfect gemstones that capture the essence of Africa, plus five alternatives because I really could not stop at 5!

1. Sapphire

The king of the gemstone jungle. Gorgeous examples of African sapphires can be found in all colors especially from Tanzania and Madagascar.

Sapphire Gemstones
Sapphire Gemstones

Offbeat Alternative - Cat's Eye Apatite

Amazing brown, yellow and amber cabochons that seem to capture the eye of a big cat.

Cat's Eye Apatite Gemstones
Cat's Eye Apatite Gemstones

2. Garnet

The range of Garnets out of Africa is astonishing from the sunset orange Spessartite to the pinks and reds of Pyrope and Rhodolite not to mention the green Tsavorite and Demantoid.

Garnet Gemstones
Garnet Gemstones

Crazy Alternative - Color-Change Garnets

Move from light yellow to deep orange or pink to red in this amazing gemstone.

Color-Change Garnets
Color-Change Garnets

3. Spinel

An unsung hero of the gemstone world, the underappreciated Spinel is a wonderful gem. The beautiful reds rival rubies and the cobalt blues give sapphires a run for their money, but the intense vibrant pink Spinel from Mahenge in Tanzania is the real winner.

Spinel Gemstones
Spinel Gemstones

Surprise Alternative - Unheated Zircon

These untreated zircons encapsulate the perfect African sunset with rich orange, russet and red hues.

Untreated Zircon
Unheated Zircon

4. Tanzanite

Perhaps THE African gemstone is Tanzanite. It is named after one of Africa’s best sources of gemstones, Tanzania, in the middle of the continent. Found by Maasai herdsmen in the foothills of the iconic Mt Kilimanjaro – it does not get any more African than this gorgeous purple blue gemstone.

Tanzanite Gemstones
Tanzanite Gemstones

Striking Alternative - Tourmalines

Tourmalines come in almost every color of the rainbow and they can all be found in Africa including the stunning and incredibly rare Paraiba neon blue and green gemstones from Mozambique and Nigeria.

Tourmalines Gemstones
Tourmalines Gemstones

5. Ruby

Burma or Myanmar may have a reputation for the finest rubies but there is no doubt Africa competes very well. It will not be long before the stunning red rubies of Madagascar and Mozambique will be getting the sort of prices usually reserved for Burmese Rubies.

Ruby Gemstones
Ruby Gemstones

Exotic Alternative - Black Opals from Ethiopia

Australia is the most famous source of Opals but Ethiopia produces some fantastic black opals with an amazing play-of-color for a fraction of the price.

Black Opal Gemstones
Black Opal Gemstones

Africa's Big 5 Gems plus Alternatives

Gemstone Colors

Sapphire

All Colors

Cat’s Eye Apatite

Yellow / Gold / Green

Garnet

All Colors

Color-Change Garnet

Yellow / Gold / Pink

Spinel

All Colors

Zircon

Golden Pink

Tanzanite

Purple / Blue

Tourmaline

All Colors

Ruby

Red

Black Opal

Rainbow play-of-color

  • First Published: August-21-2020
  • Last Updated: September-18-2020
  • © 2005-2020 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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All Gemstones (144)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
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