he and his miners were finally able

The Sapo mine is managed by Martins Clovis Coelho, nicknamed "Baiano." For some time of late the mine has been producing specimens which show crystals of blue tourmaline ("indicolite") resting on and intergrown with quartz crystals both of the colorless and of the citrine variety. And the mine is again economically feasible, cheap tiffany jewellery running it does require enormous expense in personnel and machinery.


I was already on my way to Brazil in January of 2008 when Baiano informed me in a phone call that his mine was again yielding indicolite tourmaline, "cathedral" quartz and many associated minerals. The long flight to Rio de Janeiro, followed by an eight-hour wait for a bus connection for Rodoviaria, and then the nine-hour trip to Governador Valadares (the gemstone center in Minas Gerais), all tired me tremendously. But on the next morning my friend took me to his warehouse, where I saw quartz crystals (many transparent, to lengths of more than a meter), top-quality citrine, and highly unusual kinds of quartz - all newly found. These specimens, which lay on long tables and on the concrete floor of a large room, were shot through with blue tourmaline crystals, many of which were Tiffany Earrings terminated. Large rosettes of cleavelanditic albite encircled the crystal groups, and the quartz showed the so-called "cathedral" habit, with stepped sides rising in domelike formations - a fantastic sight. The scene was further Tiffany Bangles on sale with attractive "crocodile quartz" specimens, these showing brown, doubly terminated crystais in parallel growth, many with fensters - "windows" - on their sides. With joy, Baiano also showed me some characteristically deformed quartz crystals such as come fairly commonly from his mine.


Then, in his office, surrounded by some especially valuable examples of his new finds. Baiano told me the story of what had happened on December 16, 2000. A landslide had occurred, blocking the entrances to his mine as well as collapsing some sections of the tunnels and filling them with rubble. In five months of hard work, he and his miners were finally able to clear the entrances and make the tunnels passable once more. During the next few months, with dynamite, he succeeded in driving the workings farther along, and the new discoveries soon were being brought to light. Ever since then, at regular intervals, crystals and crystal groups have emerged. Most have been quartz specimens in widely varying sizes and showing different habits and colors: from colorless and transparent, to citrine and Tiffany Bracelets on sale quartz, the latter sometimes reaching the very dark "morion" stage. Occasionally there have been finds - as if out of a fairy tale - of quartz crystals from which blue tourmaline crystals rise like Tiffany Pendants on a Christmas tree. About 20% of the indicolite is of the finest gem quality, and it is these crystals that make the mine economically viable; even so, it is an enormous effort to meet all expenses and still show a profit. On the next day I was to be convinced of this on the spot.


A half-hour's breezy drive in a small, powerful truck along an already-known route (see Lapis, March 1999) brought me to the Sapo mine: I hardly recognized the scene! New adit entrances had been driven, and bulldozers, caterpillars and huge heavy trucks like those used in the big ore mines rattled and thundered, making a deafening din. The ripped-open earth was marked everywhere by blast holes.


A brick structure - very unusual for the mine - had recently been erected. Miners would labor in the interior of the mine, then bring wheelbarrow-loads of rubble, which would later be searched through for gemstones, into the shimmering heat of daylight. Streaming with sweat, the miners migrated towards shadowed places and clutched water bottles. It was the same with me: I was drenched with sweat, even though I had only observed the activities while shooting video, taking pictures, and wandering up and down through the area in search of information. Tiffany Pendants on sale the burning heat, I squeezed through the very narrow main entrance to the mine. Extremely high humidity hindered breathing. Muddy puddles of water and slippery, clayey ground had to be negotiated Tiffany Bracelets, and sharp-edged rocks pointed downward from overhead like spears. Soon I was standing before a steeply contorted, wet, very slippery rock ledge, and decided that was enough for me. An old but serious injury to my left leg from years ago in the Thomas Range began to flare up, and I knew it was too dangerous for me to proceed further.


Back in the daylight again, a blast was being prepared. Overburden was being hauled away from a low area, exposing country rock. Two workers were taking turns laboring with a hand-held drilling machine, to drive a shot hole for the explosives - but with little success. The drill-bit broke and had to be replaced, consuming much time; the attempts to drill the shot hole went on interminably. Meanwhile I climbed over earthen walls and filmed many things: the primitive accommodations, the hard-working miners, the look of the land, the vegetation. In the shade I recovered myself somewhat, eyed by a multicolored Amazon parrot.

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