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       The Continent of Africa, perhaps best known for its diamonds and gold, is also host to numerous corundum localities.   As it is being developed, more land is exposed and more stones are discovered.   The underscored blue hyperlinks will get you to the various countries represented here.    
        I received an email from John Saul (one of the poineers of colored gemstone mining in East Africa), who had seen our Mineralogical Record article and wanted to know if we would be interested in some of his old specimens.  After the excited “Do bears go in the woods?” reply, we got down to business; and now there are several more great specimens from his collection in ours.   Because of this provenance, the suite will be kept together.  Important specimens from his own John Saul Ruby Mine and other mines in Kenya, the Longido ruby and zoisite (anyolite) mine in Tanzania, and the vicinity of Conakry in Guinea can be seen here and there on this site.   
       The Republic of South Africa was one of the early important regions ("Transvaal", "Zoutspansburg"), producing large brown to red euhedral crystals for European specimen collectors.  Now, much of the area is under development ("shopping mall parking lots"), so there is not much collecting any more.  Today, these crystals are hard to find (being sequestered in private or museum collections) and are usually quite expensive when they can be had.  
       There are important gem localities in Kenya.  The John Saul Mine is the most famous for its rubies, but there is another  locality in the Pokot tribal territory along the border with Uganda that has produced a few superb specimens.     There are also some interesting sapphire localities (Kwale, ...).  
      There are numerous currently active localities for gem rubies and sapphires in Tanzania We will eventually have separate pages for the more important mining areas.  
       In Sierra Leone and the neighboring sub-Saharan country of Guinea, there are a few interesting deposits.   Some recent finds of purplish sapphires in layers of gravels overlying diamondidferous ones may be of economic importance.  We are assisting with current attempts to develop these.  
      Somalia is not (yet) an important source, but there are a few fine stones, and some interesting provenance ...  
      The "Z" countries (Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe) are confusing, because this is a case where they share common boundaries which transect some of the deposits.   It makes sense to think of the deposits as regionally rather than politically defined.  

South Africa



Sierra Leone



       Expect the Continent of Africa to continue to reveal new localities, as its "in the ground" resources are revealed through exploitation of its surface resources (such as trees and farmland).  It is unfortunate, but a way of modern life, that ecological disruption will be such a part of the "landscape"!    
     Here for example is a strange one.  We think it weighs at least 200 kilos (440 pounds)!  Note the geometric pattern of color zoning, indicative of twinning in what may have been a huge crystal!  It might come to the United States for display; but until someone is willing to pay the freight, it sits in Africa..

  John Saul sent us this large  ruby/sapphire "half-breed" crystal in January, 2011.   All the locality data we have on is that it cane from somewhere in East Africa.  I am fascinated by it, because the only specimens I have seen that are similar in appearance originated in India.