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 Post subject: Planning my first trip to Namibia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:54 am 
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Greetings!

I am planning doing my first gem hunting trip to Namibia; it will take place between June and July of the current year. I am excited beyond belief and I have tried to do as much research as possible, but my google-fu skills haven't provided much of a guide regarding Namubia. Originally I wanted to travel to Tanzania but since the ban on rough exportation I decided for a rather uncommon choice for a gem hunting trip. I am focused 90% in acquiring Tourmaline (the other 10% for any other minerals I may find) and I post this topic looking for advice on two subjects.

1-Any contact for reputable dealers or perhaps go visit a small mine...as far as I know colored stone mining is very small scale in the country. My current plan is...well just ask around and talk in shops in Windhoek and Swakopmund to try to get connected to a good dealer or miner.

2-What would be a good suite of instruments to carry? Besides the a gram/carat scale, loupe, pen light and dichroscope? There may be other instruments but for quick checks in the field I believe that should be enough (according to my limited knowledge). Perhaps a polariscope would also be viable?

Finally I'd like to add pictures and a small journal of the trip once I do it. I am excited for what I think it is going to be a memorable experience.

I would greatly appreciate any input or advice regarding gem hunting in Namibia

Cheers!

-z


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 Post subject: Re: Planning my first trip to Namibia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:09 pm 
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*I'm going to use my text to talk on my phone to write this out so please excuse any grammatical errors or misspellings

Are you going with someone?.
Pretty much no crime the only thing you have to worry about is someone snatching your cash at an ATM so just be careful if you're on a public Street withdrawing money.
Rent your own vehicle.
Don't travel at night because hitting big game in the road is bad news.
If you go to Erongo for aquamarine it will be a hike. Bring matches, bread(food), and water to trade the miners up on the mountain. If I remember his words correctly, skip Simmons told me that those couple items are just as valuable as cold Hard Cash to the minors out there to wrong though, because they can continue mining longer and I have to make trips back into town to resupply. That's if I remember it correctly. It's been many years so don't quote me on that.
Six seven years ago you could get a 5-gallon bucor ket aquamarine crystals for around $500-$600.

You have to visit brandberg mountain, not only to see the famous landmark, but also to poke around and dig for the amethyst crystals found around there(Goboboseb) You can't actually dig on the mountain, cuz it's off-limits, but right next to it in the Goboboseb area, you can actually pop open vugs full of fantastic crystals. If that's not your thing you can just buy some from the local dealers.

Some of the amethyst crystals got they dig out, especially the Germans, are unbelievable and out of this world. My mentor brought back two crystals one time, both under $400 each, that he later sold for over $2,000 a piece. I've never seen anything like them when it comes to quartz, and I know quartz.. LOL.
You said you wanted to focus on tourmaline, well, tourmaline is super duper expensive there and very hard to find. I remember my mentor telling me after his fourth visit there, when I asked him why he never brought back tourmaline, explain to me the prices and what they wanted for them, and it was utterly ridiculous, if I remember correctly.
If you're trying to score some of those amazing namibian tourmaline, like the blue, blue green colored ones we see pop up every now and then, then be wary of imitations(material carved to look like tourmaline rough crystals) first off, but also be prepared to pay out the wazoo for them....or any tourmaline for that matter...lol. if it's still the same situation there then you'll find cheaper tourmaline here at home sitting on your computer or at the next Gem Show, than you will in Namibia. Schorl tourmaline Is plentiful and everywhere, so if that's the kind of Tourmaline you're interested in(probably not though..lol) then you are heading to the right place.

I recall Bob Whitmore, who is the owner of the Palermo mine up in New Hampshire, and a famous mineral collector, telling me about how him and his wife just picked up demantoid garnets off the ground when they visited. He had just gotten back from Namibia when he told me this, while I was mining tourmaline up in Maine. He pulled out a handful of demantoid garnets and told me all he had to do was walk around and pick him up off the ground. His wife backed up that story, not that I would discredit or not believe Bob, but damn, picking garnets up off the ground sounds to good to be true. I'm not sure where he was or who he was with but I always remembered that.

Steer clear of trees while out in the bush, because there are usually some aggressive wasp and wasp nest up in 'em. the lack of foliage means just about every tree has some wasp. They are much more aggressive than anything you've encountered here so just remember that. I had a group of friends go one time and everybody got stung up pretty bad.

Haggle...haggle ...haggle....walk away....wait till they run after you with better price....then haggle some more.

Contact Jaco Smith( I think that's his name it's been many years and I could be a little off on remembering exact details and names).
You might be able to find some contact information online if I remember correctly. Also if I remember correctly, he owns or has a tourmaline mine and is very involved in the namibian mining scene.

Any Tsumeb specimens that you come across, which won't be many if any at all, you should buy up immediately. The value of those have skyrocketed in recent years. Tsumeb is one of the Holy Grails of mineral locations in the world.

Last thing....and the most important.....take me with you. :) :wink: [-o<

P.S. check out Google Earth and look where brandberg mtn. is and look where Erongo is.... both are found on Amazing geological features that are circular and nature and stick up out of the desert like a pimple. Both are intrusive granite batholiths(off top of my head) and they look amazing on GE.... if you like that sort of thing. Oh yeah, there's also the big fluorite mine you can stop and visit. Its called Okarusu, if I spelled it correctly

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 Post subject: Re: Planning my first trip to Namibia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:15 pm 
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I used to have a few files I gathered together on Namibia, as a preliminary step towards helping me whenever the day came that I was able to make a trip there myself. I need to go on my desktop and see if I still have them.

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 Post subject: Re: Planning my first trip to Namibia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:58 pm 
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Jason:

If you could find those files I would appreciate it. I've done diligent research about Namibia. The more I read the more I'm interested. Especially the expeditionary aspect (rent a vehicle, roam the country) of the trip. I have decided to postpone the trip until next year. Me and my girlfriend decided to go to Europe and Turkey this year.

My research points to me that I'm more likely to find specimens rather than facetable material. Either way sounds like a fun adventure. I also read that for all the things you can see in Namibia the mineral aspect becomes secondary for your experience.

I have located several mines of interest in the country and I'll try to make a route that cover as much as possible. I read that Tsumeb is not even worth visiting because the mine has been shut down for decades and all specimens have taken off all over the world. Even so I will make sure to try to keep an eye out for anything. Brandberg amethyst seems very nice and also I found a demantoid garnet mine....I don't know if you can pick the stuff from the ground tho.

The good thing about going next year will be more experience and knowledge before I set off. I still hope to find some nice material. Who knows what could happen!


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