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Ethiopia emerges as new sapphire and emerald source, says GIA

20 November 2018


Polished emeralds

Rough sapphires


Recent discoveries have revealed that Ethiopia could be an emerging source of other coloured gemstones apart from opal, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Wim Vertriest, GIA supervisor of field gemmology, is presenting the results of a new study, “Ethiopia: A new source of sapphires and emeralds,” at GIA’s 110th Gemstone Gathering in Bangkok scheduled for November 28.

According to GIA, Vertriest and a team of GIA gemmologists travelled to Ethiopia to document the development of the nation’s gem resources and to collect samples for GIA’s reference collection.

“Ethiopia has long been known for opals but recently, there were discoveries of commercial-quality blue sapphires and emeralds of various quality,” revealed GIA.

Since joining GIA in 2015, Vertriest has participated in GIA field expeditions to numerous sapphire, ruby and other gem-mining areas, the institute said. In his role as supervisor, Vertriest oversees the field gemmology department and curates GIA’s coloured stone research collection in Bangkok.