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Rubies from Afghanistan

Afghan rubies are marble hosted, meaning they typically range from purplish red to red, and fluoresce brightly. They also frequently have blue color-zoning. The vast majority of rubies from this country are not facet grade, more often cabochon or frequently carving grade.

Untreated Afghanistan ruby left, heated ruby of comparable quality right – Photo by Ted Themelis

Ruby Mining in Afghanistan

While not well-known as a ruby source, Afghanistan is a historical producer of rubies going back hundreds of years. If the political climate and government policies in the nation relaxed, Afghanistan could be a large ruby supplier. Presently many rubies are smuggled into Pakistan, with some even making their way to the markets in Thailand. Much of the material that does get mined is often taken by thieves and/or corrupt officials.

While Western surveying detected mines in the area around Jagdalek going back to the 19th century, the mines were in production long before. While mining can be done year-round, most of the corundum output is sapphires with much less ruby production. Gem-quality material is also rare.

Source: Ted Themelis. The Heat Treatment of Ruby and Sapphire Second Edition. Self-Published. 2010.