GIA Research Brazil

Gemological Institute Of America sent a team of field researchers to the superlative mining areas of Brazil this spring. Stops included the Cruzeiro mine, which is well known for its color gradient tourmalines. The field researchers were also given a chance to interview Heitor Dimas Barbosa, the first discoverer of the Paraiba tourmaline.
The team of field researchers included gemologist Andrew Luca, GIA’s Director of West Coast Identification Shane McClure, video producer Pedro Padua and Gems & Gemology Editor In Chief Duncan Pay. From March 31 to April 17, the team traveled the areas of Brazil to gather information and document the current state of colored stone mines, particularly emerald and tourmaline.
During their trip towards the Belmont Mine found in Minas Gerais, the team documented the digression to new open pits, while simultaneously continuing to develop its underground mining. The mine is also in the process of building a new state of the art rough processing and sorting facility. This innovative facilities will cut around 60% of their own production, with a large focus on higher quality stones.
The Cruzeiro tourmaline mine in the past has produced great quantities of the stone from large pegmatites, which are intrusive igneous rocks with very large crystals that form in the later stages of a magma chamber’s crystallization. All of the mine’s rubellite tourmaline goes to Shenzhen, China, for cutting and sale.
The upcoming issue of GIA’s scientific journal, Gems & Gemology, will feature the findings from the trip, as well as a more in depth look at the interview with Heitor Dimas Barbosa. The GIA website will also host field reports and video documentaries for everyone to see.