Beautifully sparkling aquamarine has the color that resembles the waters of the ocean. Because of the name aqua, it is commonly misunderstood as originating from the sea. No, it’s not. It is an earthly gem found in rocks.
Adorable aquamarine is commonly found in granite and metamorphic rocks. It is obtained from nature by the mining process.
Surface mining by hand, the predominant practice of collecting gemstones from nature, is open pit surface mining. In South Africa, aquamarine gem mining is easily accomplished using only the hands without involving complex machinery.
To cause the rocks containing the rough aquamarines to crack open, fires are lit next to giant rocks. Rocks are rarely blown up with dynamite. Once the mineral-rich rock is broken open, labor is used to collect the priceless gems. Using hammers, chisels, picks and axes, aquamarine is collected as crystals that break rocks.
Aquamarine Mining: The Whole Process Geological site investigation is the first step in the gemstone mining process. The EIA-Environmental Impact Assessment is the next step. These two steps are first performed in sequence at mines believed to contain these gemstones. Using Geomorphology, a highly advanced technical process, the shape of the earth is defined by gently moving the surface and raising it above sea level. This process decreases the depth and facilitates the extraction process.
The area thus identified above is rich in Precambrian metamorphic rocks. These rocks contain crystals rich in minerals such as quartz, garnet, mica, feldspar, biotite, etc. And not to mention the other priceless and precious gemstones. The light bluish stone ‘Gem of the Sea’-Aquamarine is one of them.
Aquamarines are hosted in pegmatite, the veins present in metamorphic rocks. These veins are generally cut and range in thickness from 10m to 40m. The center of the pegmatite is usually solid. So it has to be fractured and bandaged. By the open pit mining method, the veins are fractured using pneumatic tools.
Some of the tools used in aquamarine gem mining are compressors, jackhammers, ladders, shovels, etc. Bulldozers are also used to help in the mining process for these gems. Once the gemstones are freed from the rock, they are cleaned and washed with water.
Aquamarine Mining: Aquamarine mining is truly an environmentally friendly process. It lacks the use of any toxic materials such as cyanide and mercury that are commonly used in gold and silver mining. So all hearts desiring a green planet can wear aquamarine jewelry without the guilt of spoiling the purity of mother nature.
Mining for this particular gem is a simple and harmless process in which aquamarine-bearing metamorphic rocks are first broken into pieces by inserting air/gas pressure into the rocks.
Also, even after exhausting them, the mines do not remain sterile. A layer of soil 2 to 4 m thick is placed over the closed, filled mine pits. Therefore, grass and trees can always be grown on that surface and the area regains its natural appearance.
This gorgeous bluish aquamarine gemstone is mined incorporating a simple, harmless and environmentally friendly process.