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Tsarstone collectors guide

Brazilian alexandrite

Alexandrite is mined sporadically in the Malacacheta. Cat's-eye chrysoberyl is readily available at Teofilo Otoni, albeit in very small sizes, mostly under 0.5 ct. Alexandrite is available in smaller sizes. One excellent eye clean with strong color change alexandrite of about 5 cts was shown at the offices of Stone World in Teofilo Otoni.

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

Teofilo Otoni located between the stony hills and rocky mountains that are so characteristic of the landscape of the state of Minas Gerais, is Brazil's most important commercial center for colored gemstones, where about 55 percent of the country's output is brought to be sold. It is the beating heart of Brazil's colored gem trade, the town where production from hundreds of small mines dotting the region comes to be bought and sold. Driving through the region, it's common to see tunnels cut into the hillsides -- or, more correctly, the telltale white of the waste rock dumped outside the mine. These are all garimpeiro operations, some literally located in people's backyards.

Most famous chrysoberyl deposits, spread throughout the 1,800 hectares of the FaĆ­sca and Crisolita Basins. The cat's-eye chrysoberyl is about 30 percent of the rough found , although only 10 percent of that is good color. Few years ago, Brazil's environmental agency (IBAMA) shut down the Duarte & Bastos's mine for polluting the local stream and deforesting the region, which can cause serious erosion problems. Now, with only a dozen or so miners left, they're allowed to mine on a limited basis while they implement a 20-year plan to replenish the vegetation and build dams to remove soil sediment from the water.

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