From Ethiopia, Emeralds


By Victoria Gomelsky


In 1990, while Vladyslav Y. Yavorskyy was a geology student at the University of Odessa, he visited his first emerald mine, the Malysheva deposit in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

“I got there and began to dig with a hammer,” he recalled. “You spend one week on a mine, you get a half pocket of emeralds. I never managed to get anything clean, to selling standard. But the color was fantastic.”

Today, the Bangkok-based gem dealer and author of “Gemstones: Terra Connoisseur is infatuated with emeralds from another, very different, locality: a two-year-old mine in southern Ethiopia, near the trading town of Shakiso.

He said the color of the bright green gems from East Africa rivals that of stones from Colombia, the traditional source of top-quality emeralds.

He is not alone in his assessment.

There has been a lot of excitement among international gem dealers about the discovery, particularly because many of the Ethiopian stones do not require oil, a traditional form of clarity enhancement.

Mr. Yavorskyy said, “The best Ethiopian stone I have is a 10-carater, and it’s like the best Malysheva emerald — so beautiful.” And, he added, “You look at the crystal and you see big money inside.”

The interview was edited and condensed.

When did you first hear about the Ethiopian emerald discovery?

In 2016, the first material came out at the Tucson gem shows. There were bigger crystals but not clean, not good for faceting. One year later, we started to get a lot of stuff in Bangkok, the most open market on the planet.

What’s your impression of the gemstones?

The first stone I got over 10 carats was a spinach color, really pure green. There are a lot of lighter ones — most of the production is lighter, like any other mine — and mostly below 5 carats, but the quality of the material is exceptional. Plus, it’s natural. And you don’t pay millions. If you’re talking a 10-carat super Colombian, it’s a million-dollar stone and never available. And here, you open your palm and you put this stone in your palm, you enjoy it, and you don’t spend as much as your house cost to buy it.


Read full article HERE.

Ethiopian Government thinks about limiting rough exports


As Ethiopian gemstone revenues rise, government looks to limit exports of rough

Quietly and under the radar, Ethiopia appears to be developing into a significant force in the gemstone industry. Speaking last month, Ato Tollosa Shagi of the country’s Ministry of Mines reported that over a six-month period the country had earned $288 million from the export of gemstones.

Ato Tollosa was speaking at a seminar held at the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa. He told participants that currently some 250 companies have taken licenses to operate mining exploration in the country.

The country is best known for its opal production, which was first included in the Ethiopian federal government’s list of exportable items in 2005. As a result, output increased, both in terms of production and revenue.

In January it was reported that the federal government was considering banning the export of rough opal, in order to persuade exporters to add value locally. It will be the second extractive resource to be banned, after the ministry suspended the export of unprocessed tantalum, a corrosion resistant, rare blue-gray metal.

Ethiopia exported 10,104 kilograms of gemstones during the last two quarters of 2012; 600 kilograms more than in 2011. India consumed close to 80 percent of exports.

More than 2,000 miners, working under the umbrella of 17 associations are engaged in opal mining. There are 200 exporters recognized by the ministry. According to Tekle Yilma, president of the Ethiopian Gemstone Association, almost all gemstones are sold as rough, without any value addition.

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