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Tourmaline Gem Mines of the Malkhany Region of the Buryat Republic, CIR (Siberia)


Standing on top of the Moss pegmatite looking over the Taiga of the Malkhany Region of Siberia

Although gemstones from this region of Siberia have been known for centuries (Documented production began as early as 1723), the Malkhany pegmatites were discovered only recently. During the 1970's Russian geologists exploring the region for sources of rare earth metals discovered these gem pegmatites (Pegmatites are coarsely crystalline granites rich in the trace elements required for gem formation). Pegmatites are relatively abundant in the Malkhany region; many produce significant amounts of gem tourmaline. Currently, portions of this area are under lease to a small Russian corporation that is actively mining some of these deposits. The Moss pegmatite is located in the the beautiful Siberian Taiga (Forest). The pegmatite consists of a rather large lenticular body approximately 300 meters in diameter and nearly 50 meters in thickness. This pegmatite contains many gem pockets lined with fine pink to red tourmaline crystals. These pockets range in size from 0.5 to 2 meters in diameter. Most pockets contain large gemmy tourmaline crystals attached to their walls or found loose in the decomposed feldspar and mica gravel and mud. The crystals and crystal fragments can be cut into exquisite gemstones.