Demantiod from the Green Dragon Mine
His excitement is obvious as he talks about the Green Dragon Mine, located in Central Namibia. It was discovered by accident when a Namibian goat-herder stumbled on some green crystals in the earth.
The Green Dragon is an open-pit mine, with a crushing plant and sorting house on site. Its desert location means that they have to bring in water from outside, limiting their ability to put the ore through a density separation step, which instead is performed carefully by hand. They also have to live with the desert’s punishing temperature extremes.
With no clear indication of where the “good stuff” is hiding, Green Dragon miners depend on a combination of instinct and geological knowledge to find the richest pockets. Mine yield - between 5,000 and 10,000 carats - is mostly melee, small gems measured in millimetres. Half-carat finished stones are rare; those over a carat, very rare.
Turning to his stones, he shows some samples of cut demantoids, including melee rounds and a selection of larger, square-shaped brilliants. He holds them to the light to show how their colour and cut are just right for displaying a lot of fire. He also has a selection of what he calls “army-coloured” demantoids - a sort of brownish green - that are very popular with his clients.
The mine’s social responsibility to its workers includes a housing programme: some of what the mine earns goes into a fund to help workers and their families to find appropriate housing. The mine is visited periodically by government and environmental regulators to check on how they treat their employees, ensure blasting safety, maintain their mining claim status, etc.
Green Dragon markets its demantoids on US home-shopping TV stations, to high-end European and Swiss consumers and to manufacturers in Asia. This beautiful stone appeals to jewellery designers, collectors and others who love unusual stones. You can tell by Mr. Reif’s enthusiastic tone and delivery that he’s just as excited as everyone else about its beauty and potential.
Mr. Reif has intimate knowledge of the Green Dragon demantoid garnet mine in Namibia. In these extensive interviews, Mr. Reif provides a wealth of information regarding the mine’s geology and production, along with government mining regulations and water requirements. Mr. Reif also discusses, in detail, the cutting of demantoid garnet, quality evaluation and the market.