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July-August 2013

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Discovery of New Gem Tourmaline Pockets in the Sosedka Pegmatite, Malkhan, Russia

The Malkhan pegmatite field, located about 250 kilometers southeast of Ulan-Ude and Lake Baikal, lies on the so-called Malkhan Ridge. It is currently the most important producing pegmatite district in Siberia and the whole of the former Soviet Union (Zagorsky and Peretyazhko 2008). Although it is not the only pegmatite district in the region, its size and the richness of its deposits have allowed economic mining for more than twenty-five years. Specimens of tourmaline, some associated with quartz, feldspars, mica, and danburite, that have appeared on the market in recent years comprise only a small fraction of the production. Between 300 and 1,000 kilograms of tourmaline, mostly used in the lapidary industry, together with quartz and very minor amounts of danburite, beryl, and pollucite, make up the yearly production.

Supplementary material for this article:

Two short movie clips, showing the excavation of the pocket on page 312. [Video 1] [Video 2]

Dr. Jindřich Kynický is a professor of mineralogy in the Department of Geology and Pedology at Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic. During the past decade, he has organized many geological expeditions to deposits of critical metals and gemstones in Mongolia, China, and the former Soviet Union.

Štěpán Krejsek has been a passionate field collector for more than fifteen years, with a focus on pegmatites of the Czech Republic and Central Asia

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