We publish courtesy of Gems & Gemology eBrief
Author: Brendan Laurs
In June 2010, GIA was informed by Jack Lowell (Colorado Gem & Mineral Co., Tempe, Arizona) about some attractive gem-quality crystals of aquamarine and heliodor from Indochina. According to his supplier (Tan Pham, Vietrocks.com, Philadelphia), good-quality aquamarine was mined in 2008 in northern Vietnam, from separate areas in the neighboring provinces of Thanh Hoa (in Thuong Xuan District) and Nghe An (Que Phong District). Aquamarine from Nghe An was also produced in 2003-2004. The more recent crystals range up to 20 cm long, and are notable for their saturated color. Matrix specimens (associated with smoky quartz) have been recovered only rarely, from Thanh Hoa, due to the weathered nature of the pegmatite host rocks. Clean gemstones up to approximately 35 ct have been faceted from the Vietnamese aquamarine.
Well-formed crystals of heliodor (e.g., figure 2) were recently produced from another area in Southeast Asia, which Mr. Pham suspects is Cambodia. The crystals were first noted on the market in Vietnam with a third-party source in 2007; those seen by Mr. Pham ranged up to 7.5 cm long. This heliodor, as well as the aquamarine described above, has been especially popular with Chinese buyers.