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Emeralds - Norway

Silver, Kongsberg, Norway, (approx. 5x5 cm)It's May of the year 2001. Furnished with information gleaned from literature we set out to explore the famous „Norwegian pegmatites“. There's three of us - me, Dalibor and Petr. It was my idea, Dalibor is an expert and Petr figured it would be fun, which he can record on video.

The journey takes us across the whole of Germany and Denmark to the port Frederikshavn, a boat takes us to Oslo. We decided the rest of the route should pass through Minnesund, a famous emerald locality Silver, Kongsberg, Norway, (approx. 5x5 cm)and further to Kongsberg, where we are interested in the renowned silver mines. Than we shall continue due south to the town Evje. It's vicinity should be the location of several hundred abandoned pegmatite pits. Their biggest boom was during the war, because the Germans desperately needed beryllium.

We reach Minnesund in two hours and find the emerald site quite easily, the route is well marked.

Emerald, Minnesund, Norway, (crystal approx. 3 cm)The end of the asphalt road, the car wobbles as we turn into a steep downward sloping dirt road. It leads to the shore of the gigantic lake Mjosa. We enter the courtyard of a beautiful archaic country estate, inhabited by owners of the land with the former emerald mine, where one of the buildings houses a well-stocked minerals store. Before the store entrance lies a boulder of quartz mother rock of about sixty kilograms with dozens of emerald crystals. They are naturally non-transparent and reach Searching for emeralds in pilesthe sizes of only up to one centimetre. It's more than enough for encouragement though. We will shop later, now we pay the fee (30 NOK per capita) and go dig for emeralds!!!

We go a bit further by the lake shore and than take the beaten path with a load of clubs, mallets, hammers and jimmies, rushing towards the locality.

Author in emerald mineThe piles, rummaged through many a times, spread from the reddish rock high above us all the way to the clear waters of the lake. We turn some rocks at random, break some up. Rarely there is a greenish streak.

This is where sixty years ago there stood a stone breaking shop on the shore, processing boulders ripped from the rocks above. They were sorted by hand, meticulously so. After two hours Emerald, Minnesund, Norway, (crystal approx. 3 cm)we have several samples with a few millimetres sized imperfect emerald columns. We go up the slope towards the hole-filled rock. On our way we break up larger boulders and try to distinguish the real hopeful ones from barren rocks. Nothing much.

We go look in the drifts leading dozens of meters into the heart of the rock. We can see how diggers of old advanced following the strong quartz dikes. The quartz is impure, full of additives and coloured by oxidized ferrous solutions to a rusty reddish hue. We don't have a proper light. So after our first fall into a meter deep hole we leave the rock.

Emerald, Minnesund, Norway, (crystal approx. 1 cm)Again and again we break up quartz boulder and finally we get lucky! We manage to find a sample with a wonderfully green emerald crystal, more than three centimetres long with smaller exemplars around it.

In the store we buy a few samples of sliver from Kongsberg. That's our destination tomorrow.

J. Ruml, Geosvět, Londýnská 55, 120 21 Prague 2