Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ruby mines of Jegdalek

Just a few hours drive from the Afghan capital Kabul is an area renowned for some of the world's most valuable rubies.

Jegdalek mines have been worked for more than 700 years and are known for their high-grade blood-red rubies. The corundum deposit is hosted in calcite-dolomite marble and is up to 2,000m thick.
The deposit is worked by about 20 mines and more than 2,000 open pits and trenches.
The ore field includes skarns and muscovite-bearing pegmatites.The mines rarely produce the red rubies they were once famous for - more often than not semi-transparent pink sapphires are the only gems found, even at depths of 150m.

Every Friday the Taliban organizes a ruby bazaar near Jegdalek in the small village of Soar Naw - a remote and mountainous area covered with deeply forested valleys. Here they sell rubies which are then smuggled to Dubai, Pakistan and Thailand.
About 75% of the production at the Jegdalek mines is in the form of pink to violet-pink sapphire, with rubies accounting for 10%, and the balance being blue sapphire.