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Tsarstone collectors guide

Brazilian alexandrite

The Hematita mine is known for the finest alexandrite, but today there are very few high quality alexandrites from Hematita on the market. A new owner has taken over the old Hematita mine and no one knows how much more the deposit can produce, but the material presently is high quality. Some dealers say this deposit is already depleted but this is difficult to verify. Small amounts of alexandrite have also been found a bit further north in Minas Gerais at Malacacheta, Teofilo Otoni and Esmeraldas de Ferros.

Locality details
RegionSoutheast Region
ProvinceMinas Gerais
Time zoneUTC-3(-2DT)
Locality maps
Map of Hematita Satellite of Hematita

In 1987 a major strike of alexandrite was made at Hematita. As soon as news of the find leaked out, three thousand garimpeiros (independent prospectors) descended on the small valley, five hundred feet wide by six hundred fifty feet long, and began to dig. This "Alexandrite-rush" lasted about four months during the spring and summer of 1987. On average, one person a week was shot to death until bloodshed caused the government to issue an order in June 1987 to shut down. The situation had become so violent that the government had trenched a moat around and posted soldiers on the only remaining operating mine. By this time, the area appeared to be mined out. Estimated production from this strike was two hundred and fifty thousand gem carats in the rough (50kgs) according to "Secrets of the Gem Trade: The Connoisseur's Guide to Precious Gemstones" by Richard W. Wise.

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