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By Reviewed By Thomas Dahlberg Dec 10, 2020 Updated Dec 28, 2020

Gemstones from Mozambique

Gemstones found in Mozambique
Gemstones from Mozambique

The country of Mozambique came into being in 1974 after 400 years as a colony of Portugal. Its first decade or so was dominated by civil war and natural disasters from which it is only now just emerging.

It is a large nation in south east Africa bordered by South Africa to the south, Zimbabwe to the west and Tanzania to the north. To the east, across the Mozambique Channel, lies the large island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Mozambique is divided in two by the mighty Zambezi River. In the south, lies the capital Maputo and the touristy coastal areas while the north is more sparsely populated and contains the gemstone mining localities.

The wealth of gemstones found in Mozambique is the result of geological activities 100 of millions of years ago. In the dim and distant past the land that makes up present day India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Antarctica, South America and much of east Africa was all one large continent known as Gondwana.

The plates that made up this super-continent ground together and were subject to enormous volcanic activity which provided the heat and pressure needed to create gemstones.

Rubies, for example, were created some 600 million years ago at a depth of around 20 kilometers. Over the millennia since then the plates drifted apart to form new lands and mountain ranges. The rocks containing the rubies were slowly raised to the surface then eroded to reveal the precious gemstones.

This is why rubies can be found in Madagascar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and Mozambique to this day as well as numerous other valuable stones.

As a central part of this geological treasure trove, Madagascar is home to many gemstone types but as yet we have only touched the tip of the iceberg as it were. Following independence and the civil war, it is only now that exploration can be properly undertaken and the results are spectacular.

Rubies have been discovered in abundance since the turn of the century as well as various garnets and tourmalines and it is surely only a matter of time before supplies of other valuable gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and spinel turn from sporadic to prolific.

We take a look at the best on offer from this exotic tropical nation.

Ruby from Mozambique

The discovery of Rubies in Mozambique is probably the gemstone story of the 21st century. Since rubies were first found in the Northern region of this country in 2008, it has developed into an industry that now produces around 40% of the world's ruby supplies.

Shop Mozambique Ruby Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Ruby here

Although rubies from Myanmar have the reputation as the best and most expensive in the world, there is no doubt that the ones from Mozambique can easily rival them in color, clarity and fluorescence.

The most productive area in Mozambique is in the mines of Montepuez. Rubies are sourced from both primary rock formations thought to be up to 800 million years old and from secondary alluvial sources created by ancient rivers that eroded the old rock and transported the rubies to the floodplains and deltas.

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Garnet Gemstone Family

There are a number of different gemstones which belong to the versatile garnet family and several come from Mozambique.

Pyrope Garnet from Mozambique

Pyrope is the classic red garnet that has made this gemstone famous throughout history. The deep red variety can rival the looks of a ruby at a fraction of the cost. Like most garnets, pyropes are very rarely treated in any way and with a Mohs hardness rating of 7 can be made into all types of jewelry items.

Shop Mozambique Pyrope Garnet Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Pyrope Garnet here

With their durability and natural brilliance, pyrope can be faceted into any shape and can be found in quite substantial carat sizes and all at very reasonable prices.

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Rhodolite Garnet from Mozambique

As you may guess from the name, rhodolite garnets are 'rose-colored' gemstones with purplish red or 'raspberry-red' being the favorite. They are a mix of pyrope and almandine garnet and the samples coming out of Mozambique are amongst the best available.

Shop Mozambique Rhodolite Garnet Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Rhodolite Garnet here

Good quality rhodolite garnets do not have any visible inclusions or internal blemishes and their high refractive index gives them an excellent brilliance or sparkle.

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Spessartite Garnet from Mozambique

This gemstone gets its name from the Spessart Mountains of Germany where they were first identified in 1832. This typically orange to orange-red type of garnet was not really well-known until significant deposits were discovered in Africa in the 1990s, including lovely stones from Mozambique.

Shop Mozambique Spessartite Garnet Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Spessartite Garnet here

Again, like other garnets, they are not enhanced by treatments other than cutting and polishing but Spessartites are more likely to have inclusions when it comes to larger carat sizes than the rest of its family.

This fiery orange gemstone is often cut into cabochon shapes - flat bottoms and domed tops - which can be made into very interesting jewelry items.

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Tourmaline from Mozambique

Tourmaline is one of the most colorful of all gemstones with just about the entire rainbow represented. Mozambique contains just about the full range with orange, pink, red and purple particularly plentiful and earthy greens and browns are also popular as well as the spiritually protective black tourmalines.

Tourmaline is a durable gemstone with a rating of 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale and makes great jewelry items with the prices very varied according to color and size.

Mozambique has two very noteworthy varieties of tourmaline that need a closer look.

Shop Tourmaline from Mozambique
Shop Mozambique Tourmaline here

First the rubellite tourmalines, deep pink and bright purple colors which are much loved by jewelry makers for their versatility in cutting and carving and their ability to hold their color in all lighting conditions. Large clear rubellite gemstones from Mozambique can fetch very high prices and are much sought after.

Then we have Paraiba tourmalines, a copper bearing gemstone with bright neon blue coloring. First discovered in the Paraiba region of Brazil, this gemstone took the world by storm but was very quickly depleted.

Luckily a similar looking and almost chemically identical tourmaline was discovered in the early 2000s in Mozambique with a range of colors from green to blue-green to almost violet which were cleaner and bigger than the original Brazilian gemstones. Mozambique is now the world's foremost supplier of Paraiba tourmalines.

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Aquamarine from Mozambique

Aquamarine is a type of beryl alongside emeralds and morganites amongst others. As its name suggests it has subtle blue and green colors that are reminiscent of ocean waters - aquamarine can be translated to water from the sea.

Shop Mozambique Aquamarine Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Aquamarine here

A durable stone rated at around 8 on Mohs hardness scale and available in large clear untreated gemstones it is an almost perfect gemstone for jewelry making.

The Nampula district in Mozambique is renowned for its aquamarine gemstones which can be found in a gorgeous bright pastel blue often described as 'Robin's egg' blue.

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Morganite from Mozambique

Morganite was first discovered in Madagascar, the huge island off the coast of Mozambique back in 1910, and named after the US banker, JP Morgan.

Shop Mozambique Morganite Gemstones
Shop Mozambique Morganite here

It is yet another member of the beryl family of gemstones with others such as aquamarine and emerald. It has a hardness rating of about 8 on the Mohs scale, comes in sophisticated pale pink colors and is usually faceted to show off its clarity, color and brilliance.

Mozambique morganite is often heat treated to attain an attractive peach color and can be referred to as Zambesia Morganite after the area in which it is mined.

Quick Guide to Mozambique Gemstones

Gemstone Color


Light Blue


Pastel Pink

Pyrope Garnet


Rhodolite Garnet

Purple / Red



Spessartite Garnet




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