What stones to buy in Afghanistan

I have a friend in Afghanistan for 5 months, I asked him to buy some
Lapis, what else should I ask him to find?

He said that he found rough about the size of soap bars, He is a
clay artist so not familiar with stones, What else?


I’ve known two military folk who sent me stones to identify / value
for them. You need to know gem stones before you purchase in the
bazaar. One bought a ruby that was useful as driveway gravel. The
other bought several tourmalines, two were glass, three were
tourmaline, one was cutable into gem for ring.

Caveat emptor!


He should see if he can get some Ultramarine. It is a type of beryl
except it is a very light green, not as dark as peridot. If he should
get some I would like to purchase of it.


When I was in Afganistan 30 or so years ago, there was a lot of
beautiful Iranian turquoise about, at very reasonable prices.


lapiz lapiz lapiz lazulite of course! if you ask around you can get
AAA blue,…it can be re sold in australia or us for many times the
price. and is wonderfull material for any lapidary or jeweller…

My store is located in a military town, and we see a lot of stones
from Afghanistan that our service members and military contractors
purchase while there. Unfortunately not one stone that has been
brought to our store was worth the time and trouble to carry it home.
I am sure that if one has the right contacts there is some wonderful
stuff to be had in Afghanistan, but I suppose an entire marketplace
has grown up to take advantage of the folks serving over there. We
see similar junk sold to our service people in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi,
as well. It makes me sad.

Peggy Wilson
Harbor Jewelers

Dear Mr.Wilson,

perhaps you could not get right people. There are lot of precious
and semi precious stones in Afghanistan. you can Ruby, emeald,
tourmaline, quartze and lapis lazuli and kunzite etc. you have to
decide what do you want.

we can supply you if we know what do you want in sizes and quality.
we deal whole sale in rough and cut and polisshed stones. Any stones
will be guerantted that it is orignal and not dyed or treated.

thanking you,

I have seen exactly the same thing. Every stone I’ve seen brought
home from Afghanistan by service members and contractors is not what
it is supposed to be, is heavily treated (lots of glass filled really
crummy rubies), or synthetic.

If they don’t have the training and/or equipment to identify and
grade tell your friend to not buy anything they can’t
afford to find out later is worthless glass.

The Afghan people may have some real hurdles to overcome, but for a
lot of people selling mastering the unhindered free
enterprise system sure isn’t one of them.

Dave Phelps

I have a customer who presented me with a ‘beautiful harlequin opal’
she had bought in Vientien Laos. I immediately told her I thought it
was not an opal, it had a plasticey feel. I dont know what she paid.
I had it checked by an expert friend who did a displacement test,
‘like Archimedes in the bath’. The figures did not tally properly.
He said it was a Gilson opal, resin + opalescent material. An other
customer presented me with a huge ‘ruby’ he had bought in Bangkok
which turned out to be a synthetic. Those are just some of the sad
stories I could relate after 40 years as a jeweller. So unless you
are a gemologist and have all your equipment with you dont buy from
any one except a bonafida company in your home country or countries
where there are legally enforceable standards. On the other hand I
once bought large ‘citrine’ in a ‘9ct gold’ ring at an antique fair
in England, as in the badly lit hall it just did not look right, it
was just too lively. The gold was 18ct so paid for the stone and I
was offered $1400 for the stone, a good price then, by my gem dealer
in London. It turned out to be a ‘10ct royal topaz’ I made a
magnificent setting for the topaz and eventually sold it for a really
good price. I never saw the seller again. I would have given her some
recompense. Always keep your eyes open. I regret not studying
gemology it would have been a great help!


David Cruickshank. Australia

In the Midamerica Jewelry Magazine last month there was an article
about treated rubies. It stated that some of the treatments such as
lead glass fusion were causing a “spider webbing” effect on the
stone when put in cleaners, pickle pots etc. I have dealt with a
couple of these rubies in the recent past and had this very problem.
It just so happened that my client said their customer purchased
these stones while deployed in the Afghan region. So BEWARE! I have
started a policy that if I don’t know that the colored stone came
from a reputable stone dealer, it is worked on at the customer’s risk
ONLY. Especially if the customer bought it over seas, on a cruise, or
off the TV!! I advised them to do the same. C. Y.A. !!! (Cover Your
A**) Steve