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Gemstone Deposits in Turkey
Murat Hatipoglu
a
, Hakki Babalik
b
c
& Steven C. Chamberlain
d
a
Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey
b
Adnan Menderes University, Turkey
c
Karacasu Multidisciplinary Vocational School
d
New York State Museum, Albany, New York
Available online: 08 Jul 2010
To cite this article: Murat Hatipoglu, Hakki Babalik & Steven C. Chamberlain (2010): Gemstone Deposits in Turkey, Rocks &
Minerals, 85:2, 124-133
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10511970903455868
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 96*2:405,9(3:
D
espite having significant gemstone deposits, Turkey
is not known as a producer of gemstones. In this
article, we summarize six deposits: diaspore, fire
opal, blue chalcedony, amethyst, smoky quartz, and agate.
Close scrutiny of a recent compendium of mineral locali-
ties (Bernard and Hyrsl 2004) shows that only gem diaspore
is recognized as coming from Turkey and then only in the
past decade or so. Current commercial sources of amethyst
include Uruguay, Brazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Mexico, and
Siberia. Fire opal is commercially available from Mexico and
Brazil. Smoky quartz is available from numerous sources
including Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland,
and Ukraine. Blue chalcedony for gemstone use is produced
in Nevada (Mount Airy blue), California (Mohave blue), and
Namibia (African blue). Commercial production of agates
is geographically widespread and includes Brazil, Mexico,
Botswana, Australia, Argentina, and the United States (Min-
nesota, Montana, and South Dakota), but not Turkey. In
fact, significant deposits of all six of these gemstones occur
in Turkey.
.LVSVNPJHS:L[[PUN
As shown in figure 1, Turkey comprises the Anatolian
plate, which is wedged between much larger tectonic plates,
including the African plate, the Arabian plate, the Black
Sea plate, and the Aegean plate. These plates have been ac-
tively moving at least since the Paleocene (65 million years
ago [mya]). As a result, Turkey experiences frequent, often
serious earthquakes (Tan, Tapirdamaz, and Yörük 2008),
such as the pair of deadly quakes that occurred in 1999
along the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAF, fig. 1). Gener-
ally, the gemstone occurrences described here are found in
Gemstone Deposits
MURAT HATIPOGLU
Izmir Multidisciplinary
Vocational School and
Graduate School of Natural
Applied Sciences
Dokuz Eylul University
35160 Buca-Izmir, Turkey
murat.hatipoglu@deu.edu.tr
HAKKI BABALIK
Karacasu Memnune Inci
Multidisciplinary
Vocational School
Adnan Menderes University
09730 Karacasu-Aydin, Turkey
hbabalik@adu.edu.tr
STEVEN C. CHAMBERLAIN
Center for Mineralogy
3140 CEC
New York State Museum
Albany, New York 12230
sccham2@yahoo.com
A 24.31-carat faceted diaspore from Milas-Mugla, Turkey. Photo by
Murat Hatipoglu.
All photos by the authors
in Turkey
Figure 1. Map showing the intersections of five tectonic plates on the Anatolian Peninsula that
comprises modern Turkey. Volcanic and tectonic activity along the major fault zones (shown)
and many minor zones (not shown) are responsible for much of the gemstone mineralization
summarized in this article (modified from Yagmurlu 2000).
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metamorphic, volcanic, and sedimentary rocks of relatively
young ages (Tertiary) (e.g., Cater and Tunbridge 1992; Co-
hen et al. 1995; Bozkurt and Sözbilir 2004). Figure 2 shows
the provinces in which the deposits of the six gemstones are
located. By comparing figures 1 and 2, the general relation-
ships between the gemstone deposits and the tectonically ac-
tive regions becomes clear.
+PHZWVYL
Although there are numerous localities worldwide
for diaspore crystals and several that have produced
gem material in limited quantities, only the deposits
in southwestern Turkey in the Mugla-Milas-Pinarcik
region (fig. 2) contain commercial quantities of gem-
quality diaspore. The mines are located about 16 ki-
lometers northwest of Milas and about 50 kilometers
west-northwest of the city of Mugla in Mugla Province
(fig. 3). Excavations were carried out for many years
for aluminum ore (fig. 4) by the Eti Holding Mining
Company (a government corporation), but eventu-
ally they were stopped because the ore was no longer
a profitable source of aluminum. The ore consists of
metamorphosed bauxite mixed with small grains of
diaspore. Large crystals of diaspore capable of yielding
faceted stones largely occur in fracture zones in the
adjacent marbles and more rarely in the outer zone
of brecciated lenses of metamorphosed bauxite inter-
posed with zones of marble.
Many of the diaspore crystals were distorted by
postformational tectonic activity extending from the
Oligocene (37.8 mya) to the Miocene (23.8 mya), so
they are more suitable for use as gem rough (marketed
as “zultanite”) than as mineral specimens (fig. 5). Re-
cently, however, some spectacular crystallized speci-
mens of diaspore have also been produced that may
be among the finest known (Moore 2008).
Unfortunately, exploration geologists seeking alu-
minum ore did not document the reserves of diaspore
crystals, and none were saved as a byproduct of meta-
bauxite mining. Some indication of the significant
amount of gem diaspore in the deposits is given by the
statistic that between 1978 and 1984 about 10 tons of
diaspore crystals were illegally extracted. These were even-
tually delivered to government officials, but most were then
dispatched abroad (Saatcioglu 2004).
Dr. Murat Hatipoglu is an assistant professor at Dokuz Eylul
University in Turkey. He is the coordinator of the Gemology
and Jewelry Program in the Izmir Multidisciplinary Vocational
School and director and senior staff gemologist of the Dokuz
Eylul Geomological Testing Laboratory.
Hakki Babalik is an instructor at Adnan Menderes Uni-
versity in Turkey. He is coordinator of the Jewelry Design and
Lapidary Program and director of the Lapidary Workshop at
the Karacasu Multidisciplinary Vocational School.
Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain is the coordinator of the Cen-
ter for Mineralogy at the New York State Museum in Albany,
New York, and the chairman of the Rochester Mineralogical
Symposium.
Figure 2 (top). Map of Turkey showing selected provinces. Those contain-
ing localities for gemstones discussed in this article are color coded.
Figure 3 (above). Location of deposit of gem diaspore in Mugla Province.
Figure 4. Old entrance to the Kucuk Camiliktepe diasporitic
bauxite mine, which produced gem diaspore (zultanite) crystals.
The surrounding rock is marble.
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 96*2:405,9(3:
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Most of the world’s supply of gem-quality fire opal has
come from the state of Queretaro in Mexico, hence the trade
name Mexican opal (Koivula, Freyer, and Keller 1983; Spen-
cer, Levinson, and Koivula 1992; Fritsch, Wery, and Ostrou-
mov 1999; Fritsch et al. 2006; Schütz 2007). More recently,
limited quantities of fine gem rough have been mined in the
states of Paiui and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil (Farrar 2007).
Gem-quality fire opal is also found in the Kutahya-
Saphane-Karamanca region of Turkey (figs. 2, 6), although
references to this deposit in the literature are scant (Fischer
2007). The deposit is just east of the village of Simav, about
10 kilometers northwest of the town of Saphane in Kütahya
Province. The fire opal fills vesicles in rhyolite.
Legend holds that the Lydians mined opal in Turkey in
ancient times and that it was recovered by the Genoese about
550 years ago—there is still one
mine called the Genoese mine in
the region. Commercial mining
of nearby alunite deposits com-
menced in the 1850s. Several
mining companies, especially
those based in Germany, recog-
nized the gemological impor-
tance of the fire-opal deposits
nearby. German companies
mined fire opal from the gal-
leries and fracture zones during
World War I, between 1914 and
1919. Mining continued inter-
mittently in the 1940s, 1950s,
and 1980s (fig. 7). Millions of
tons of rhyolitic waste can be
seen today as evidence of past
episodes of intense mining; in-
deed, local freelance collectors
still recover fire opal from the
dumps and export it. Unfortu-
nately, most of it is still marketed
as Mexican opal, although some
collectors are becoming aware of
the true locality (Fischer 2007).
Pure opal samples vary from
the size of a lentil to that of a walnut and show a range of
colors including brownish-red, red, pink, orange, yellow, and
colorless. The rough provides excellent material for cutting
cabochons (fig. 8).
)S\L*OHSJLKVU`
Deposits of blue chalcedony are commercially exploited
in North America and Africa. Mining has also begun in
Turkey, where there are numerous blue chalcedony depos-
its with commercial potential. Bolu-Kibriscik, Afyon-Bayat
Izmir-Aliaga, and Tokat-Zile have important deposits, but
the most important and economically viable deposit is in the
Figure 5. Rough and cut diaspore crystals. a: An 84-gram piece of olive-oil-colored diaspore, with
internal cleavage planes. b: A 480-gram fragment of a diaspore crystal. c: A 687-gram V-shaped
group of bicolored diaspore crystals (olive-oil-colored and pink) of a sort rarely found. d: A
26.34-carat, faceted, pear-shaped diaspore stone of dark olive-oil color and very good clarity.
Figure 6. Location of deposit of fire opal in Kütahya Province.
Figure 7. Open-pit Karamanca fire-opal mine in rhyolite.
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Figure 8. Rough and cut fire opal. a: Brownish-red, red, and colorless fire opal filling
vesicles. b: All the colors of fire opal found in the Turkish deposits—brownish-red,
red, yellow, pink, orange, and colorless. c: Cut and polished cabochons of red and
colorless fire opal. d: Cabochons of orange fire opal.
Figure 9. Location of deposit of blue chalcedony in Eskisehir
Province.
Figure 10. Blue chalcedony nodules in the fault breccia.
Eskisehir-Saricakaya-Mayislar region (fig.
2). The Sirri Gerçin Chalcedony Mining
Company currently operates a mine (Ger-
cin 2005) just east of Saricakaya in Eskise-
hir Province (fig. 9).
The blue chalcedony occurs as sedimen-
tary nodules in a brecciated sandstone-
arkose (fig. 10). In most cases, a blue core
is surrounded by a brownish-yellow crust
about 5 mm thick, although occasionally a
thinner ivory crust surrounds the blue core
(fig. 11). The nodules typically range from
5 to 15 cm in diameter; however, nodules
to 70 cm in diameter are recovered. Some
show a dark blue color when broken or cut,
but occasionally violet chalcedony forms
the inside of the nodules—a color rarely
found anywhere else. The chalcedony of
these nodules is compact, durable, and
readily worked for cut stones and gem-
stone carvings.
(TL[O`Z[
Amethyst is a common gemstone world-
wide; however, most current commercial
production comes from South America,
Africa, and Mexico. Turkey has an operat-
ing mine for gem amethyst in the Balike-
sir-Dursunbey-Gugu region (fig. 2). The
Alacam Amethyst Mining Company is
producing single amethyst crystals vary-
ing in size from 2 to 12 mm. The mine is
about 8 kilometers south of Dursunbey in
Balikesir Province (fig. 12).
Local miners had extracted about 50
tons of amethyst specimens from the 1960s
through 2003, when professional commer-
cial mining began (fig. 13). The specimens
are extracted as a druse of crystals on a thin
matrix of host rock and are then broken
into single crystals for use as gem rough.
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 96*2:405,9(3:
Since 2003, about 100 tons of gem rough and small amethyst
crystals on matrix have been sold.
The amethyst crystals line the edges of lenticular voids
among the fractures and joints in a ryolitic-dacitic host rock.
Each mineralized lens has a length of 6–10 meters, a width
of 0.4–1.0 meter, and a depth of 0.2–0.6 meter. Amethyst in
this deposit ranges in color from purple through violet, li-
Figure 12. Location of amethyst deposit in Balikesir Province.
Figure 13. Open-pit mine exposing lenses of amethyst crystals.
lac, heliotrope, and orchid hues and provides rough
suitable for fine faceted stones (fig. 14).
:TVR`8\HY[a
Like amethyst, smoky quartz deposits are widely
distributed, and many of them are exploited com-
mercially, including some in Brazil, Madagascar,
Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Brazil is
currently the largest producer and exporter of gem-
quality smoky quartz. Turkey has a huge number
of smoky quartz veins in the Menderes Massif, but
only some of them contain gem-quality crystals, es-
pecially those in the Kocarli, Karacasu, and Cine dis-
tricts of Aydin Province (figs. 2, 15). None of these
smoky quartz deposits have yet been mined profes-
sionally; however, a commercial mining company
has obtained a license to mine some promising veins
in the region, and field studies and seismic investi-
gations are underway.
The smoky quartz occurs in fractures that have
been repeatedly mineralized by hydrothermal solu-
tions forming mineralized veins and lenses (fig. 16).
Veins may be 0.2–8 meters wide with a length of 1–7
meters and a depth of 10–30 meters. Lenses are typi-
cally 0.5–2 meters wide, 3–10 meters long, and 3–6
meters deep.
Specimens are generally extracted as matrix
pieces weighing up to 180 kilograms, although most
specimens vary between 0.3 and 5 kilograms. The
color ranges from pale to dark smoky-brown and
occasionally to the black variety, morion (fig. 17).
(NH[L
As gemstones, agates are distinct from the others dis-
cussed in this article in that colors and patterns vary so
greatly from locality to locality (see Zenz 2005 for a review).
Although Brazil is probably still the major commercial pro-
Figure 11. Rough and cut blue chalcedony nodules. a: Rough
nodules ranging from 5 to 25 cm in diameter. b: Cut cabochon
mounted in a 14-karat gold ring and a rough nodule of the ideal
blue color.
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Figure 14. Rough and cut amethyst crystals. a, b, c: Druses of amethyst crystals coat thin matrix of rhyolite-dacite rock. The amethyst
shows a range in color including heliotrope, lilac, dark purple, violet, dark orchid, pale orchid, and pale lilac. d: Small pieces of natural
amethyst crystals mounted in a silver necklace-earrings-ring set. e, f: Two views of a 147-carat violet faceted stone.
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 96*2:405,9(3:
Figure 15 (above). Map showing several smoky quartz deposits
in Aydin Province.
Figure 16 (right). Smoky quartz veins in gneiss and schist are
exposed at the surface where they can be exploited by villagers.
Figure 17. Rough and cut smoky quartz crystals. a: Loose and matrix specimens of morion. The crystals range from finger sized to
arm sized. b: A 20.3-cm-long single crystal of smoky quartz. c: Irregular-shaped faceted smoky quartz gems showing various shades of
brown. d: Two faceted smoky quartz stones mounted in a silver necklace.
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ducer, agates are currently available commercially from every
continent except Antarctica. In Turkey, the Cubuk-Susuz re-
gion in Ankara Province has commercially viable agate de-
posits that have not yet been exploited (fig. 2), although they
are known to agate collectors (Mason 1970; Swindle 1974;
Zenz 2005).
The deposits are located about 35 kilometers northeast
of Ankara just southwest of the town of Sabanözü (fig. 18).
Here, agates occur in andesite, which locally is basaltic, and
rhyolite of Miocene age. Agates formed in andesite as open-
space fillings in crevice and fissure-vein cavities, so their
orientation is stratiform, not nodular. By contrast, agates
formed in rhyolite as fillings in regular and irregular vesicles.
Agate mineralization outcrops on the Ankara-Cubuk plain
(fig. 19).
Figure 18 (top). Map showing several deposits of agate in Ankara
Province.
Figure 19 (above). Barred agate layers exist in the stratified
andesite that forms this outcrop.
Figure 20 (right). Rough and cut agate nodules. a: Three polished
samples of agates—a fortification agate on the left and barred
agates in the center and on the right. b: Polished specimens of
moss agate with banded agate at the top. c: Two decorative cut
and polished samples of common agate with an agate cabochon
mounted in a handcrafted silver ring.
Agates hosted in andesite and basalt often have barred
inclusions where chalcedony has replaced zeolites and other
earlier minerals (fig. 20). The bars have a rectangular pris-
matic shape or an acicular shape, resulting from chalcedony
or quartz replacement or hollow tubes reflecting the original
crystallized framework. These agates occur individually and
are called barred agates (Hatipoglu and Dora 1999). Others
have concentric bands, but these are not horizontal Uruguay
bands and are, therefore, fortification agates.
Agates hosted in rhyolite often have sagenitic or mosslike
inclusions with tubiform structures and both concentric and
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 96*2:405,9(3:
horizontal Uruguay banding. These agates are generally re-
ferred to as moss agates (fig. 20).
-\[\YL7YVZWLJ[Z
Our field examination of the gemstone deposits discussed
in this article revealed that Turkey has significant commer-
cially viable reserves of all of them. Were these deposits pro-
fessionally mined, hundreds of millions of dollars of gem
rough could be produced, and this mineral wealth could be
the basis for an expanded Turkish gem and jewelry industry,
given that most gem rough is currently imported. Past unli-
censed mining and trade in Turkish gem rough have demon-
strated that the quality of the product meets the standards
of international buyers. We estimate that 90 percent of the
economic potential for gemstone production in Turkey is
still underground. The future prospects for commercial de-
velopment appear to be excellent.
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Yamadağ Volcanics which is one of the examples of the Late Miocene volcanism in Eastern Anatolia covers largeareas within the boundaries of Arguvan county of Malatya. The gemstones, subject of this research range from afew centimeters to about 30-40 cm in size and are formed in the cavities of the basalts beonging to Yamadağ volcanics. These gemstones seem to have formed as veins extending in east-west direction and consist of opal (opal-CT) and chrysocolla. Opal formations have various colours such as white, brown, yellow and greenish, while chrysocolla formations are bluish-greenish in color. both opal and chrysocolla are of massive type and their fresh surfaces display waxy luster. Mineral paragenesis and formation conditions of gemstones and are determined by applying XRD, SEM, FT-IR techniques. ICP-MS technique is used for the determination of the geochemical compositions. The gemological characteristics are identified via cabochon and facet cut techniques by using diamond coating blade, sintered diamond abrasive discs and polishing machine. Opals are usually composed of tridymite minerals, also in some cases quartz and cristobalite minerals accompany the tridymite minerals. The EDX measurements reveal, enrichment of Fe and Al in opals, and of Cu in chrysocolla. The ICP-MS measurements, in chrysocollas reveal, enrichments in LIL elements such as Ba, Sr and in HFS elements such as U. Consequently, gemological studies show that the chrysocolla and opals in study area, which have waxy luster and massive structure, are suitable for utilization as a gemstone due to its color, hardness, durability, homogeneous distribution of color and processability. (17) YAMADAĞ VOLKANİTLERİ İÇERİSİNDE SİLİSLİ SÜSTAŞLARI: Mineralojik, Jeokimyasal, Gemolojik Özellikleri ve Ekonomik Önemleri, Arguvan-Malatya. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323802263_YAMADAG_VOLKANITLERI_ICERISINDE_SILISLI_SUSTASLARI_Mineralojik_Jeokimyasal_Gemolojik_Ozellikleri_ve_Ekonomik_Onemleri_Arguvan-Malatya [accessed May 14 2018].
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