Feature Gems & Gemology, Winter 1985, Vol. 21, No. 4

A Status Report on Gemstones from Afghanistan

Although Afghanistan has historically been well known for its lapis lazuli deposits, significant amounts of fine emerald, tourmaline, kunzite, and some rubies are now emerging from that embattled nation. Emeralds come primarily from the Panjshir Valley, northeast of Kabul. Large amounts of green, blue, and pink tourmaline, as well as considerable quantities of kunzite and some aquamarine, have been taken from the pegmatites of the Nuristan region, east of Panjshir. Smaller quantities of fine ruby have been found in the Sorobi region, between Jalalabad and Kabul. The occurrence, mining, and distribution of these gem materials are summarized, as are their gemological properties. Lesser amounts of garnet, amethyst, spinel, and morganite have also been located. The prospects for future production of emeralds and pegmatite gems, in particular, are excellent.