We all love quality gemstones for a variety of reasons and these stunning creations of nature take millions of years to form, while under intense geographical pressure deep under the ground. To say that gemstones are difficult to mine is probably an understatement on the decade and there are various methods used to mine gemstones, which we outline in this article.
Open Cast Mining
This is perhaps the most common way to mine gemstones, gold and silver, with the excavation creating a pit that has sloping sides. Often, the gemstones are found close to the surface and are relatively easy to find. Large suction systems take the earth and ore to platforms where water is used to separate the stones from the unwanted material. As the mine becomes deeper, a roadway is created around the edge and trucks can carry the ore to the waiting equipment nearby, where it is filtered and processed. When an open mine is exhausted, it is normally filled in to become a nature reserve. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds are all found this way.
Much like coal mining, underground shafts are dug to locate veins of gemstones, which is called tunnelling, and these veins are followed until they dry up. Chambering is another form of underground mining, whereby tunnels are dug to reach the gemstone veins and mining involves blasting or using pickaxes. If you are looking to create a stunning piece of jewellery, the custom jeweller has loose aquamarine for sale at wholesale prices and they are happy to work to your budget. Diamond mines have been very productive. However, sooner or later, the vein ends and that is the end of the mining operation.
Diamonds and other gemstones can be found in rivers (and lakes) and panning is one technique that is used, which involves swilling the residue around in a sieve, locating gems or gold. The rinsing technique is repeated until nothing is left, except a few small gemstones (hopefully); panning was the primary way of gold hunting in the US, with several gold rush eras where thousands relocated to seek their fortune.
There are two types of sea mining – offshore deep-sea mining and beach mining – which are very different. Beach mining is popular on the African coast, where many have struck it rich by being in the right place at the right time and next time you are walking along a beach, keep your eyes open for anything that glistens, as you might get lucky. Disappointment is frequent, when the person discovers that the large green emerald they found is actually glass that has been eroded, but the gems are there, all you have to do is find them. Deep-sea mining is an expensive proposition with 8” diameter suction pipes that are used to suck in the mud and send it to the surface, where it is processed. All forms of gemstones can be found on the ocean bed and shores.
Geological surveys are carried out in order to determine where to mine for gemstones, which are predominately found in specific regions of the world. Only if the mining company is very confident of finding a lot will they start mining and more often than not, the excavations do reveal a vein of precious stones.