Rough Gem Stones
out of the Umba valley mines

A test dig, during my visit in March 2007, produced the following gemstones.

Two square meters where dug up. The digging was done with hand tools.

The sapphire gravel layer is 15 cm thick and 40 cm below the surface, running from the left bottom corner to the middle right in the image.

This is the pile of sapphire and garnet contaning gravel.

Ivan Robert and a local miner sorting trough the gravel.

A mix of different stones, photographed before cleaning, while we where still sorting trough the pile of gravel.

These 6 sapphires where the result of one day of digging in a team of two.

The biggest sapphire had a weight of 5.1 gram. Transmitted light.

These two sapphires where found in the same mine, although not by our team. The big one was about 10 gram.

The second day we tried a different spot and found a serie of garnets.

Garnet in transmitted light.

Garnet in transmitted light.

Garnet in transmitted light.

This is me. Guess what?
I am tired.

Lilian was our cook and translator. She did a fine job.

Ivan Robert taking a bath after work in the Umba river.
We had a double room with toilet, shower and air condition. A total of 2 rooms where available in March. Five rooms will be available at the mine in September 2007. And a total of 6 double rooms are available since August 2009.
In the morning we got up before sunrise to visite the game reserve near by.


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Copyright on all photos by Hubert Heldner