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Article: The emeralds of Afghanistan and their mysteries


The emeralds of Afghanistan and their mysteries

Of all the geographical areas in the world known for emerald production, Afghanistan is perhaps one of the least popular. However, it is these gems that most closely resemble the South American lots, not only visually, but also in gemological properties. 

The stones extracted from the bowels of the Mike Ni Valley, some 130 kilometers northeast of Kabul, in the cold of the mountains of Afghanistan, are barely bigger than peanuts, but they are enough to alleviate the absolute poverty of many miners in this country. . 

But, how and where the extraction is made, how is the quality of these stones and how it compares with the Colombian ones. Stay and we will tell you everything in detail.

Emeralds and gemstones from Afghanistan 

Afghanistan is a major producer of various gemstones, including high-quality emerald. The emeralds are mined from the Panjshir valley in the Hindu Kush mountains, approximately 100 km northeast of Kabul and the emerald deposit is believed to have been first discovered in 1970 by a Russian geologist. 

Afghan emeralds are formed at an elevation of 3,000 to 4,000 meters, and can only be accessed on foot in these high-placed mines. Most of the emeralds from Afghanistan are quite small, but have exceptional color, almost equal to the best quality Colombian material. 

Afghan emeralds have small fissures that reach the surface and generally require fracture-filling treatment, such as oil enhancements or resin fillings.

In addition to emeralds, Afghanistan also has significant deposits of rubies , kunzite, tourmaline, aquamarine, spinel, garnet, amethyst, morganite, and turquoise

Colombian vs Afghan Emeralds 

In recent years, emeralds from the Panjshir valley in Afghanistan have gained great importance in the quality gemstone market, and have even been compared to Colombian emeralds. 

In order to meet the market demand and to trace the origin of the emeralds, since many Afghan gems are traded as Colombian, the Swiss Gemological Institute (SSEF), carried out the first detailed study characterizing the different types of Afghan emerald and compares them to national gems. 

To conduct the study, the SSEF research team tested and analyzed more than 100 emeralds from the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, which ranged in size from 1 carat to over 30 carats. The results show that:


Paula A. Bonilla

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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