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March-April 2010

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Gemstone Deposits in Turkey

Despite having significant gemstone deposits, Turkey is not known as a producer of gemstones. In this article, we summarize six deposits: diaspore, fire opal, blue chalcedony, amethyst, smoky quartz, and agate. Close scrutiny of a recent compendium of mineral localities (Bernard and Hyrsl 2004) shows that only gem diaspore is recognized as coming from Turkey and then only in the past decade or so. Current commercial sources of amethyst include Uruguay, Brazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Mexico, and Siberia. Fire opal is commercially available from Mexico and Brazil. Smoky quartz is available from numerous sources including Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Blue chalcedony for gemstone use is produced in Nevada (Mount Airy blue), California (Mohave blue), and Namibia (African blue). Commercial production of agates is geographically widespread and includes Brazil, Mexico, Botswana, Australia, Argentina, and the United States (Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota), but not Turkey. In fact, significant deposits of all six of these gemstones occur in Turkey.

Dr. Murat Hatipoglu is an assistant professor at Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey. He is the coordinator of the Gemology and Jewelry Program in the Izmir Multidisciplinary Vocational School and director and senior staff gemologist of the Dokuz Eylul Geomological Testing Laboratory.

Hakki Babalik is an instructor at Adnan Menderes University in Turkey. He is coordinator of the Jewelry Design and Lapidary Program and director of the Lapidary Workshop at the Karacasu Multidisciplinary Vocational School.

Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain is the coordinator of the Center for Mineralogy at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York, and the chairman of the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium.

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