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 Post subject: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:09 pm 
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SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS

It’s a fact; some of the finest cuts in the gems trade are made from amethyst rough. Strangely cheap with exciting tones ranging from pale lilac through to deep reddish purple. Presently, supply from Africa is dominated by the Zambians, with a reputation for brilliant and peerless deep shades of violet. This domination being an anomaly considering many African countries have considerable quantities of untapped amethyst reserves in metamorphic igneous rock zones which should produce stones of equal brilliance(even if not the bespoke purple hues from Zambia) given some professional sorting is applied.
Personally I’d attribute this anomaly to low prices and profit margins obtainable from working amethyst by miners outside the fame zones of Zambia and possibly Morocco, (my opinion only though). Various color variations and secondary colors are to be found in Nigerian Amethyst, given the vast metamorphic belt within the country – in itself almost the entire size of Zambia, with material usually ranging from Non facet-grade collections brilliant colored material of significant sizes and excellent clarity. Recently though, amethyst of interesting character (mainly deep purples stones with zero secondary colours nor inclusions and excellent clarity) have been appearing frequently, and is regularly picked up by Asians who scour gem-trade centers endlessly, originally attracted by cheap colorless Topaz(usually supplied by the ton), or the big-three Nigerian Exotics(Sapphire, Tourmaline and Aquamarine).
Source Locations in Nigeria
Across the vast metamorphic-complex of Nigeria Amethyst can be found in significant quantities with gem grade material especially concentrated around in Ba’de(Kaduna State), Toro and Ningi(Bauchi State),
Faceting Potential
Various parcels of Nigerian Amethyst seen by the author including the popular deep purple type indicated in the pictures below show no color zoning at all. Clarity of these parcels ranges from VS-VVS, with certain parcels having up to 75% of contents in the VVS category. Sizes range from 5-100cts for brilliantly coloured stones while certain stones with light purple hues have been found in sizes up to 500cts.
Prices for the best stones range from 0.5USD-10USD/cts for the best stones (deep purple+VVS/VS), while lower grades are priced less though prices can vary sharply based on seasonality. Although local faceting culture is limited, certain cutters are already taking advantage of the availability of these stones at local prices.
While sales have been heating up recently with a few finds yielding spectacular stones (Toro-Bauchi especially), no extensive analysis have been undertaken for this development. Research on these stones will most likely depend on sustainability of mines found recently.


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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:22 pm 
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I can really vouch for the lovely quality of Nigerian Amethyst. After having cut a few the verdict is: Top stuff when clean and well sorted. Some pieces are actually, in my opinion, more intense as purple/violet than the Zambian material.

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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:12 am 
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Conny Forsberg wrote:
I can really vouch for the lovely quality of Nigerian Amethyst. After having cut a few the verdict is: Top stuff when clean and well sorted. Some pieces are actually, in my opinion, more intense as purple/violet than the Zambian material.


Sadly, a lot of people I come across hardly believe amethyst must come from the ''celebrity locations''(Rwanda, Mozambique, Uruguay etc..) to be spectacular.. Hope to change that, with some extra effort at sorting.

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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:08 pm 
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A nice coloured piece


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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:13 am 
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Very nice looking material there. I especially like the points.

Great potential I would say.


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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:18 pm 
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Here is what an amethyst from the best location in the world looks like. This is the universally accepted sentiment amongst the major miners in the South. It's the "white elephant" to every pro miner down there.
Not so much color, as it's main "best" trait, since the color is the same as any fine JXR spec. can have. Don't get me wrong, the color is better than most other spots in the world, but it's not an attribute that makes it the best. It's not the size of the crystals dug out either.
It's the consistent quality of crystal that occurs there. They almost always have larger, clear/clean areas, with no inclusions, fractures etc., than a comparable one from JXR, or anyplace else I know of. That doesn't mean some Ellis don't come out busted up and gnarly, it's just that pound for pound, the quality is better than most others on average. The luster, is where the bar is set for amethyst and "it's crystal" . It's the McEarl Mine clear quartz, but for amethyst instead. Purple water, it looks like in hand. You can actually tell how much better the "crystal" is, when held in hand. The luster, is the best I have ever seen too. You can see it has a better luster than any of the other crystals of amethyst you have handled. I liken it to the difference between a type IIa diamond and everything else.
Some have said, since the vein runs down into a natural spring, that suges through the vein itself and up towards the surface, as the reason for the luster being so good. The eons of small mud and clay particulates that washed naturally over the quartz, thus giving the crystals a good polish over time.

How much do you guys think this cluster from the Ellis mine is worth? It's worth what someone pays for it, is the going phrase. My best friend helped dig this cluster up, and then took it to Tucson to sell that same year.
Check this [picture out and guess what you think it's value is. I posted it on "whats it worth" on FB, and got answers like...$300..around $4-$500 possibly, one person said...maybe $1000 to a serious collector, another replied.
Image

Here is a slightly better pic of it
Image
Now here is the same cluster a couple months later, being sold by the buyer of it from my friend in Tucson. He out negotiated my friend, who hasn't sold many 5 figure stones and was overwhelmed, settling for $12,000!! he told my buddy after the sale, that he would have given $15K for it , no problem. He just worked my friend over, as a good negotiator does.
A few weeks later..maybe a couple months, the buyer of the ellis cluster put it back up for sale, and has since sold it I am told.
How much did he get? What was the value of it, after all is said and done???
In the picture below, the same cluster is for sale, with it's price marked on the sign below the cluster.
Image

He got almost that full price I was told, when it sold. $33,000 dollars!
That is why it's the best spot in the world for amethyst, overall, in my opinion.
Provenance has a role to play in the price of these specimens, but it's not the deciding factor.
Here is a partial crystal from the Ellis mine, that I got as a gift from my buddy after he dug the first time there. I couldn't believe how water-like and glassy it was compared to any other quartz crystal I ever had.
It was extremely clean and lacked much junk going on inside it. I sold it to an Australian client of mine for around $100, if I recall correctly. I wish I still had it, but it was just a so-so colored piece, that was not a full crystal. $100 was good for a chunk of purple quartz with no form or crystalline shape.

Image

Here is another example of Ellis amethyst, that shows how the crystals tend to be less included and fracture free than other spots
Image
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 Post subject: Re: SHORT NOTES ON NIGERIAN AMETHYST, THE UNKNOWN VIOLETS
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:50 pm 
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I think we all have our biases, if you asked me I'd probably say that the yellow sapphires from my field are the best in the world :D (some of the blues can be a bit dark).

Those are some stunning amethyst crystals there though Jason! I wish I could find them like that. There is amethyst all over a particular area a short drive from my home but most is too badly cracked for faceting and many are only part-formed. That said, it's all over that area but no one is out looking for any better material and no one is using excavators to move large quantities of dirt - I think it highly likely that top quality material like yours and the Nigerian stuff in the photo is probably there hiding in pockets and patches around the place but finding it is like looking for a needle in a titanic-sized haystack. You have to be on good terms with a property owner to be allowed access to dig anywhere with only hand tools - you could search for years and never run across it.

The only place where anyone can go and dig is a tiny spot a couple of hundred yards long and wide and that is all but entirely dug out. I did retrieve a few small crystals of a similar colour to yours, one of which I faceted a very nice stone from that went into a pendant for a friends mother. I also found a crystal that cut a lighter-toned stone which I just recently set into a (pre-cast) silver ring and it's beautiful - the lavender tone and the bright silver work extremely well together and seem to complement one another whereas a deeper colour would probably look more dominant.

Anyway, I will find that patch of good crystal like yours - eventually :)


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