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heliodor from tajikistan

Posted by bob kerr  
avatar heliodor from tajikistan
November 04, 2011 11:45PM
i note the following on this web site:

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is now known to be a fake locality name made up by dishonest dealers. It is believed the yellow "Heliodor" crystals claimed to be from this locality are heat-treated Pakistani beryl.

and have to take serious issue with whoever posted this. heating aquamarine does not cause it to go to yellow - period. heating aqua is frequently used to remove the greenish tinge to make it bluer but it will not turn it yellow. further heating will actually even remove the blue. this need to either show the evidence for this statement or remove this post.

now - irradiation of aqua. this does indeed tend to make aqua yellowish but there's three problems with this also. 1 - take a look at the attached photo of vivid yellow beryl in direct association with white/milky quartz. if this specimen were irradiated the quartz would turn dark/smokey. 2 - however there may indeed be a gamma ray energy spectrum that if it could be properly colmnated and focused on the beryl only could account for yellowing - but is this something you would expect from this area of the world - or even the states or europe for that matter?? i think not. 3 - irradiation of aqua typically results in a brownish yellow - not the vivid yellow found in these specimens.

finally - concerning the mine name - calling a mine one name to confuse or keep intruders out is not unscrupulous at all - it's done all over the world including here in the US. this is a meaningless critique.

so - to me the jury may still out concerning these but i have no evidence to think these are anything but heliodor from some location in or around tajikistan.

can anyone else show real evidence to the contrary? i, and others would appreciate it. inuendo and hearsay need not respond.

open | download - heliodor quartz.JPG (284.7 KB)
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 05, 2011 12:08AM
Thank you for raising this - the statement that they are "heat treated" was certainly inaccurate.

However. They are most certainly (at least the ones I have seen) simply treated low-grade Pakistani and/or Chinese aquamarines.

Despite the suspicious nature of these no-one has been able to give one shred of evidence that these things are genuine.

Please read the article by Dmitriy Belakovsky in the English ExtraLapis Vol 7 "Beryl and its Color Varieties" (p61)

The locality "Zelatoya Vada" doesn't even exit.

Until we get some firm evidence to prove these are genuine, the statement on that page stays.

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 05, 2011 12:16AM
"heated" is a local word meaning 'treated'. Treated usually means irradiated. Pakistan is a nuclear power and since irradiating is quite profitable, I doubt very much that their technology is behind anywhere else in the world.. Check the base of these beryls to see if they have been added to the white quartz. If not, then gamma radiation. was not used to make the yellow. What is used to create heliodor from aqua? Since Fe is responsible for both amethyst and aqua and heating (sensu stricto) produces 'citrine' one might suppose that heating might produce heliodor. If you think these are real I can sell you one for a grand.
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 05, 2011 01:58AM
Jolyon - thanks for the response. are you saying that the heat treating statement is wrong but the statement will still stay????

and in your statement "simply treated low-grade aqua" - treated with what??

and i just don't think that a "fake locality name" implies anything - is "gelte krustle mine" also a fake location? (in AZ we have the pure potential mine, the barking spider mine among others - simply names given in part to conceal the locality).

and i think you can also say that; "despite the suspicious nature of these, no one has been able to give one shred of valid evidence that they are not real". (based on john white's article in R&M)

i don't have access to dimitri's article - could you please provide a brief synopsis? is john's position invalidated by dimitri?


> Thank you for raising this - the statement that
> they are "heat treated" was certainly inaccurate.
> However. They are most certainly (at least the
> ones I have seen) simply treated low-grade
> Pakistani and/or Chinese aquamarines.
> Despite the suspicious nature of these no-one has
> been able to give one shred of evidence that these
> things are genuine.
> Please read the article by Dmitriy Belakovsky in
> the English ExtraLapis Vol 7 "Beryl and its Color
> Varieties" (p61)
> The locality "Zelatoya Vada" doesn't even exit.
> Until we get some firm evidence to prove these are
> genuine, the statement on that page stays.
> Jolyon
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 05, 2011 02:11AM
rob - i've looked VERY closely at my two heliodor/quartz specimens (as have others) and also quite a few other heliodor/quartz specimens and cannot see any "manufacturing" or glue evident at all. this evidence does not FULLY rule out some type of radiation treatment to cause the yellow but i think it does rule out gross radiation treatment. what i am saying is that it could possibly be created by some columnated, specific gamma energy source that would have to be focused only on the beryl - this is a major challenge and i think not a likely explanation - no matter what the country or origin.

to me, heating is simply out as a possible treatment - unless i can see evidence that contradicts experiments that i've seen conducted.

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 11, 2011 04:14PM

We believe the locality given is fake based on many discussions with experts on minerals from the former soviet union, experts on beryl etc.

The majority of specimens, including specimens on matrix, attributed to this locality are without doubt specimens of beryl from pakistan and some (unmistakably) from Ping Wu in China which have been irradiated.

This does not mean your specimen is from this source. It may well be a genuine heliodor on matrix, but perhaps from an alternative locality.

It is of course possible that your specimen is genuine and is genuinely from this locality, however because of the serious doubt about the validity of this locality we would need some fairly impressive evidence as to the provenance of the specimen before we could say with any certainty that true heliodor comes from that locality.

Dmitry Belakovsky, who wrote the article in ExtraLapis, is curator at the Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow and knows more about former soviet mineral localities than most people.

Story goes something like this:

An American dealer shows yellow beryl to him from "undisclosed locality" in the eastern Pamir mountains of Tadjkistan. Asks him where they could be from.

He says he told the dealer that IF they were from the eastern Pamir then they MAY be from Rangkul as there is a well-known gemstone area near Rangkul Lake.

He took a specimen in trade for the museum, and showed it later to Anatoliy Skrigitil - who had spent many years working and collecting in the Rangkul area - discovering many gem localities in the region. Anatoliy explained that Dmitriy was wrong, heliodor had never been found in Rangkul or anywhere in the Pamir - the only possible locality was the pegmatites in Kyrgizia.

More material came onto the market, suspiciously always through western dealers, never through Russian dealers, but now the locality was adjusted to "Rangkul, Pamir Mts, Tadjikistan" - the very (and incorrect) locality that Dmitriy had guessed at.

The mine name "Zolotaya vada" or "zelotaya vada" came at around this time, oddly a Russian sounding name (in a non-russian region) - and is clearly a distortion of the Russian words for "golden water".

All attempts to track down the mine, or any trace of workings in the region have failed, both from discussing with locals and with the regional experts.

He adds

"I have visited Rangkul area and have seen first hand how difficult if not impossible it would be to hide mining activity on the barren landscape".


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2011 05:27PM by Jolyon Ralph.
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 11, 2011 08:45PM
joylon - again, thanks for the response, i value your opinions.

this issue continues to confuse me. real evidence seems lacking and it wouldn't surprise me at all if many of the loose yellow beryls are indeed irradiated aquas. the matrix pieces however cannot be so easily dismissed - especially ones with quartz or clevelandite in association that are not darkened. but then again could the radiation treatment be electrons rather than gammas? (electrons can be more easily focused.) would this result in yellow beryl but not darkened quartz?

and concerning the given locality name(s) - this also seems inconclusive as there are lots of examples of a false locality given to hide the real locality from claim jumpers. so rangul appears not to be the correct locality but that locality could've been chosen as semi believable and to send someone on a wild goose chase. this to me is not sufficient evidence to declare them guilty.

i share your skepticism - but i also would like to have someone more knowledgeable than i explain to me my two heliodor specimens with white quartz in association (there are others out there also). this to me seems the strongest evidence that they are real heliodors and unless i see strong evidence otherwise (not just that the locality is fake) i'm gonna consider at least these two as real. and if these two are real then there's no doubt many others (loose xls) that are real - but no doubt mixed in with others that are irradiated.

i guess the discussion will continue.

Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 13, 2011 06:19PM
"finally - concerning the mine name - calling a mine one name to confuse or keep intruders out is not unscrupulous at all - it's done all over the world including here in the US. this is a meaningless critique. "

Surprised nobody has jumped on the above statement. Lying about a locality IS unscrupulous. Doesn't matter if "it's done all over the world". It's fraud, and a real pain in the ass for the whole community. Let's not encourage the bullshit artists that do it.

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 13, 2011 07:58PM

As I said before, there is a good chance your heliodor on matrix may be genuine.

However if it is, it's most likely from Brazil or another locality, not from Tadjikistan.

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 14, 2011 03:25PM
jolyon - FYI there's another "lively" thread on this subject on jordi fabre's board at:

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 14, 2011 03:35PM
tim - i agree it should be discouraged BUT let's face reality - it really exists and for reasons the originator feels necessary. for example, i worked extensively at the "Pure Potential Mine" in arizona with the new claim holder and this mine for decades had been known as the North Geronimo Mine. he, in part, renamed it to "keep the vultures out". i just don't consider this unscrupulous. similarly, when those excellent chinese mimetites first came out numerous different localities were given in order to confuse raiders. not unscrupulous.

i think the real unscrupulous occurance is when someone intentionally claims that the specimen is from tsumeb, for example, in order to demand a higher price - which is what i think you are implying also.

Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 14, 2011 04:05PM
Bob, I think your analogies don't apply in the current discussion on "Tadzhikistan" beryls. There's quite a big difference between renaming a mine when management changes hands (completely normal in the mining business and not dishonest at all), or giving out vague locality information because you don't want hordes of competitors descending on a site, and the "Tadzhikistan" story, where specimens from probably more than one locality, perhaps even more than one country, are all being attributed to another different country where they didn't come from! I'd call that a whole order of magnitude worse deception, and indefensible in any normal frame of collector ethics.
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 14, 2011 04:37PM
It seems very strange that no one has been able to pin down the source of the material in over 20 years. I would expect greed to get the better of the miners and that they would have tried to cut out the middlemen and gotten closer to selling things on the retail market (the Pakistanis and Afghans have seen fit to try and do this).

Technically, you do need to have quartz that has a relatively high aluminum content to generate a smoky quartz on irradiation. If there is a subsequent heat treatment (to about 350C), the smoky color will be bleached out.

It's one thing to be a bit vague on the locality, or rename a mine/claim (which eventually comes out) versus an outright lie about a locality. Eventually these things will end up in a museum and be studied scientifically. The science can be severely messed up if good locality data is not available. I have gotten supposed Arkansas diamonds that were in fact probably from South Africa. If these had been used in studies, they would not only have polluted the scientific literature, they would have resulted in a complete waste of the researchers time.
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
November 14, 2011 07:39PM
david - with apologies, i responded to your post from this board on jordi fabre's board. i wrote:

"and for heating smokey to clear it up - wouldn't this also impact the heliodor? there's lots of demonstrations of treated aquas and heliodors going to goeshenite with heating. the question is one of the right temperture and duration to clear the quartz and not clear the heliodor.

a friend of mine is gonna try an experiment with this - heat both smokey and heliodor and attempt to see what happens. it may not be the exact case but should be instructive."

Re: heliodor from tajikistan
December 19, 2011 01:52PM
ahi...ahi...ahi... I have heliodor from Tagikistan,cristal 3 cm
open | download - Dscn0397.jpg (46.2 KB)
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
December 21, 2011 12:40PM
Salvatore, your specimen looks spot on to a goshenite specimen I had from pakistan..those little mica books are unmistakable
avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
December 25, 2011 06:32AM
Its a lovely little specimen. Is it natural or has it been diddled? That's the question in the minds of more than just a few people. Tajikistan is a very remote place and handy to use as a locality for strange looking stuff and no one can prove you wrong. Before I would pay a lot of money for it, I would want some substantiating data. Like some knowledgeable person to go there and document the the pegmatite.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Re: heliodor from tajikistan
December 31, 2011 12:58AM
To just simply right off such a stunning specimen seems to be an injustice to eveyone, both now and in the future. I have in the past seen similar prejudice shown towards specimens from the same general area, my guess is that it's simply because the localities given by the dealers are just vague, sometimes completely incorrect just so as to protect their way of life.

My suggestion would be to give outstanding specimens such as the above a seperate area (within the database) for further investigation in the future, by those who are interested of course, with the hopeful outcome of being one day able to add the specimen to the database with confidence, or alternatively boot it down the bottom to the BM's area winking smiley
Re: heliodor from tajikistan
January 05, 2012 03:07PM
One of the most interesting stands at this years Munich show was one by Tazhik and russian geologists.

They had an incredible suite of exceptional specimens from Tadzhikistan. Many of them had been part of Anatolij Skrigitils collection, who was an excellent geologist.

Wonderful topay on smoky quartz, hambergites, tourmalines, gem skapolites, jeremejevites, short prismatic morganite.... you name it............
Even ruby crystals in matrix to 10 cm from the deposits Anatolij discovered himself!

Do you think they had any elongated yellow beryls at all......???????????????????????????????????????????

Of course NOT!
They had all legitimate specimens from existing mines and small prospects !

avatar Re: heliodor from tajikistan
February 16, 2012 02:35PM
Forewarned as to the 'dubiety' of the 'Tadjikistan, Gelte Krustle' claim of origin, I bought one of these, last year, out of curiosity and in the spirit of inquiry It's not only (I think) a very pretty little thumbnail of "Heliodor on Albite" but continues to give me hours of interest.

In summary, this thumbnail specimen is of an elongated hexagonal prismatic crystal, green-ish yellow in colour and with one perfect termination (basal pinacoid). This crystal has very smooth general finish on all observable surfaces, permitting a reasonable quality of photomicrography of its interior without need to interfere with the specimen. This crystal is partially embedded in a white crystalline matrix (not Quartz, I'm pretty sure).

My continuing interest in this little specimen comes from its inclusions, of which there are four discrete types. One type of inclusion is common both to the matrix and the the 'Heliodor'. Two of the inclusion types are surface-breaking and this offers a clear possibility of detailed analysis and identification (will be done when I can find an interested and capable party). An examination of the inclusions leads me to conclude that - whatever other treatment there may (or may not) have been - this specimen has not been heated to any serious extent.

It seems to me that the combination of the four inclusion types, plus the combination of main crystal and matrix, should give a fair chance of identifying the locality of origin. So one might think... but, so far, I have failed in this search. The inclusion types seem to me as follows:
- Bi-phasic. liquid and solid. Solid has a white granular appearance at x130. There is some indication of incomplete 'negative crystal' formation to the inclusion's surface..
- Bi-phasic liquid and gas in a negative crystal.
- One small cluster of transparent crystals, likely of the orthorhombic system.
- Black, bladed and possibly with a green overtone. This type is seen both in the Heliodor and in the matrix, surface breaking in both cases. Actinolite?
- Orangeish-brown very fine needles of 'flattened' transverse cross section. Surface breaking. Rutile? Which has (AFAIK) never been reported as an inclusion in Beryl. Or Columblite, which is documented as a Beryl inclusion?

Some pics below. All suggestions as to the possible types of inclusion and localities where the combination can be found will be very welcome!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2012 05:37PM by Owen Lewis (2).
open | download - Heliodor 1-02b.JPG (72.3 KB)
open | download - Heliodor 1-06b.JPG (48 KB)
open | download - Heliodor 1-04b.JPG (69.2 KB)
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