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Country of Origin: Namibia
Mining Location: Tubussis, Erongo Region
The Namibian demantoid mining area is located around a small village named Tubussis on the slopes of the Erongo caldera, a 250 km drive north-west from Windhoek.
The first recorded find happened in 1930, but the presence of demantoids in Namibia was mostly forgotten for the next 60 years until the mid-1990s, when a goat herder discovered green crystals embedded in a rock nearby Tubussis. The crystals were finally identified as demantoids and mining rapidly began. By spring 1997, Namibian demantoids started to appear on the international market.
The host rocks are spread over a vast area west of the Erongo mountain, stretching for at least 20 kilometers. While some parts of the deposit are mined by more mechanized operations, numerous small claims are mined by the residents of the village of Tubussis and other nearby settlements. The artisanal mining by locals is conducted year-round in shallow pits or trenches dug by hand in the weathered surface of the host rock. Deeper mining requires to use of drills and explosives to go through the hard rock, and it is only done by larger operations.
Another source of demantoids comes from the associated alluvial deposits, slowly formed over time as garnets freed from their host rocks were carried away by small streams.
After being retrieved, the demantoids are typically consolidated into parcels of various sizes and locally sold to Namibian and foreign gem buyers.
Namibian demantoids vary greatly in color, from brownish to bluish-green, and are often color zoned. Many crystals are also fractured and included, and as a result, most faceted Namibian demantoids are under the 2-carat mark.