Amethyst From Boudi – Morocco

To understand our journey to Morocco we first have to understand the reason for this epic expedition. The catalyst for this burning fire within us wasn’t just a spark, it was flare. The discovery of Moroccan Amethyst sent shockwaves throughout the gemstone industry and we were eager to find out more.

 

I came across this particular variety of Amethyst in September 2014 at a gemstone trade show and was transfixed. After securing a parcel we began to understand what made this Amethyst utterly unique.

 

The Moroccan Amethyst we had seen had the desirable ‘Siberian’ colour which is a deep shade of uniformed purple and is so named because of the original Siberian mines that produced the finest stones with unparalleled beauty.

 

The more our team studied this new parcel the more we were taken aback. These specimens had microscopic inclusions within, tiny red rods that allowed the gemstone

to interact with the light in a remarkably distinctive way.

We cross referenced our gemmological findings with that of the GIA who were becoming extremely interested in this new find of Amethyst. What we both discovered was a

game changer.

 

This gemstone exhibits what are known as ‘diagnostic inclusions’ – inclusions that are only found in this specific stone from this precise location. These inclusions give each and every gemstone a unique fingerprint. It means that every single Moroccan Amethyst is as unique as each and every one of us.

 

This discovery was captivating, but what was even more staggering was that unlike the unique inclusions that are known to occur in the world’s finest Emeralds, these inclusions gave the stone a mesmerising and unmistakable flair. These diminutive rutile inclusions that are locked into each and every Moroccan Amethyst are in fact shards of red Haematite, one of the most reflective minerals known to exist naturally. This helps to produce a flash of electrically brilliant scarlet lightning that seems to endlessly ricochet around the internal facets of the cut gemstone as it captures the available light.

 

I contacted the mine owner, Salah, in an effort to better understand this exceptional, rare and exclusive purple treasure.  Salah explained that for me to fully appreciate the divine beauty of the stone I would have to understand the incomparable story of the gem. So he invited me to the mine on the basis of my keen enthusiasm.

 

I was privileged to be among only a privileged handful of ‘outsiders’ who had been extended an official invitation to the birthplace of Moroccan Amethyst. Anticipation, excitement and apprehension grew on the plane to Marrakesh. Salah and his nephew Aladdin, who runs the day to day operations of the mine, met me at my hotel that evening and they explained the long and challenging journey ahead.

 

I was up early the next day and was raring to get started on the road to the mine. But Salah insisted that I needed to experience the culture. He said that to really be able to get the most from this experience and to be able to really tell the story of this gemstone, I would need to soak up the rich and vibrant hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.

 

It was in the Bazaars (or Souqs) of this city that I began to understand that the rich diversity, the magnitude of colours and the sheer individuality of this charismatic metropolis was perfectly represented by this new find of Amethyst.

 

An early start the next morning saw me and the team in the back of a minibus and on the road for ten hours. I had been prepared for a mundane journey but I wasn’t expecting it to be so rewarding. The contrast in scenery was astounding. Vast expanses of land reminiscent of idealistic imagined paradises sprinkled with palm trees and turquoise lagoons led directly into cinematically stirring deserts as far as the eye could see. The minibus meandered through the staggering Atlas and Anti-Atlas snow sprinkled mountain ranges and along dried up river beds and astonishing valleys. The journey was like crossing all seven continents in one day.

 

Somewhere between Marrakesh and Agadir, on a road with no end in sight, the minibus ground to a halt. Two hundred metres ahead of us was a herd of camels being guided by two nomads. This gave me the chance to both stretch my legs and witness first-hand a window into the discovery of this unprecedented gemstone phenomenon.

 

The city of Agadir offered spectacular scenery of its own, a jewel on the coast with a breath-taking view across the vast Atlantic Ocean. That night, on the promenade, myself and Salah savoured a panoramic view and a sensational tagine – a local dish infused with flavour. Talk turned to the discovery of the Amethyst and the integral role that the nomads played in its beginning.

 

Three decades earlier, a tribe of nomads were moving their livestock in the wake of a formidable rainstorm across Boudi (an area in the Tata province). Their herd of goats managed to churn up the water-logged ground and in doing so they managed to expose what had lain dormant for millions of years. For thousands of years the nomadic ancestors had walked this land and all that time there had been a secret beneath their path. Mother Nature had chosen this moment in time to shower them, quite literally, with this revelation.

 

 

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