Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk
Gemstones from Pakistan
Map of Pakistan
In recent years, most of the excitement in the colored gemstone world has been generated in Africa - especially Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya, Nigeria and Namibia. Mineralogists believe that the African mines still have tremendous potential and we expect many new discoveries to come. But as we consider new untapped sources for the future, one of the countries at the top of the list is Pakistan.
Thus far we have seen only a limited supply of a few gemstone varieties from Pakistan, chiefly peridot and chrysoberyl. Yet Pakistan is believed to hold rich sources of an astonishingly wide range of gems, including ruby, emerald, tourmaline, all the garnet varieties, topaz, aquamarine, spinel, diopside, moonstone, serpentine jade, morganite, sphene, zoisite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, kunzite and almost all known varieties of quartz.
Peridot Rough from Pakistan
Exploiting the abundant gem resources in Pakistan poses numerous challenges that require careful consideration. Political stability, foreign investment, and geological expertise are essential prerequisites for successful utilization. Moreover, the climate and terrain present additional obstacles. Pakistan's mineral wealth is primarily concentrated in the northern and northwestern regions, nestled within the formidable Hindu Kush, Himalaya, and Karakorum mountain ranges. The climate in these areas is characterized by extreme conditions, with scorching hot and arid summers, as well as bitterly cold winters. Towering peaks reaching heights of 6,000 meters (19,500 feet) are interspersed with narrow river valleys. The limited road network further complicates access, with many areas accessible only by foot. Overcoming these challenges will require strategic planning and concerted efforts to unlock the full potential of Pakistan's gem resources.
Gemstone mining in this area is still at a very early stage of development. Even in neighboring Afghanistan, mining goes on despite a series of recent wars. But political instability makes it difficult for foreign buyers to enter the mining areas in Afghanistan. Therefore, Afghan gems are brought to Pakistan and traded at the market in Peshawar. So while there is only limited gemstone mining in Pakistan, there is already a flourishing gem trade in the country. The Pakistanis also have expertise in lapidary and jewelry manufacturing in Karachi. They could some day become a major force in the international gemstone trade.
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