Nigerian Gemstones

Good evening,my name is Adamu,I work in Lagos and sometime ago,I went to my village In the north of the country and they were mining gemstones,I bought some as samples from the miners and contacted some gem dealers in Ibadan and send them pictures and they told me it’s low quality tourmaline and virtually worth nothing but they keep pushing me to tell them the location I got the stones from,I developed some doubts and I sent it the gemological institute of Nigeria in abuja for identification and the results came back as green garnet tsavorite and almandine garnet red.I did some research online and I see that they might be worth something …I just joined as a gemstone enthusiast who wants to become a gem miner and dealer.I went back recently and I also got more gemstone,one is orange and fiery red when under light and the other one is almost black but dark reddish under lights.Can someone kindly tell me what type of gemstone they might be and if it’s worth something.thank you

Good morning sir, I can concur that most of these are defiantly garnets, however when it comes to the green gems they would need further testing unfortunately. I will be honest and say that I am seeing more peridot or African green apatite. It is very difficult to tell from a picture and without assessing the gem in person it is much easier to identify from internal inclusions. The colour also is intriguing for garnet not unseen from African green garnets but deferentially a little off from the normal colours seen from day to day in Damantoid and Tsavorite, but so saying as I have said it is difficult to determine from a picture so it is still speculative untill tested.

Best regards Jarryed


Sorry!!! I forgot to say that what you have down as suspected spinel is actually carnelian, Pleas make use of its is amazing gem encyclopaedia and read up a little on it and then let me know how it goes and if you are able to conclude my suspicion of this by using the the identification guid for carnelian.

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Good Morning Sir and thank you so much for taking your time to answer my question,I’m new and I just joined and I have many doubts regarding the stones as well ,I will take my time to learn more about carnelians and the only testing facility we have here in Nigeria which I know is the gemological institute of Nigeria and what they do is only identification.

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No one can tell you what a gem is by looking at a photo, so don’t believe anyone telling you what your stones are without a gemological exam. Yes, the red stones do look like garnet. Much garnet, particularly in small sizes is very common and not worth much. Stones which show color on a piece of white paper (the “white paper test”) and which are various shades of pink, bright red, orange or violet can be worth fairly good money. Tsavorite in a real green grass shade that is over two carats and free of inclusions can be worth a lot of money, particularly if clean and in large sizes. What you show in your photo, assuming it really is tsavorite, is not prime color and does not look clean or clear.

Remember that you will need a lot of gem knowledge to do business and that people selling to you are likely to know a lot more than you do about it, so you are easy prey. Yes, there are some miners who know next to nothing, but even a lot of them will have picked up some knowledge. Either that or they think that every rock they find is worth hundreds and that you are trying to swindle them.

There is a wealth of info on line about gems…there are even free gemology courses. I haven’t had much luck instructing Africans in the finer points of gemology. They all seem to want to strike it rich immediately and that is just not going to happen. PM me if you want further pointers. Good luck! -royjohn


Thank you so much Sir for your Vivid opinion…Im grateful.
Everything you said is on point.I have so many doubts and that’s one of the very reasons why I joined IGS,I think I have learnt a lot in the past few days than I have done in months and I intend to learn as much as I can while I’m here.


Hi all. I’m also new on the platform and have had a similar experience with my land in Northern Nigeria. I got the place for farming but discovered some stones. I obviously need to learn as much as possible about them. I’m also open to any advice I can get. Thanks.

Some tests I ran confirmed there’s lepidolite, tourmaline (green, pink , blue-green, black, rainbow) mica and such in the land.

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very well said…

most of north and central nigeria are exposures of very old - archean, preproterozoic crystalline basement rocks… metamorphic gneisses at high metamorphic facies… up to migmatitie and granulite. The minerals you have found are usually associated with pegmatites derived from low grade partial melting of high grade metamorphic rocks. As such you might have dug into a pegmatite body. If the minerals crystallized at a lower pressure equivalent to less than 5km depth, you could have a pocket of gem minerals. Pegmatites are typically zoned… tourmalines are found in the outer zone, the core zone contains tantanlite, rose quartz. There are also 4 types of pegmatites depending on pressure temperature crystallization conditions. Some are “barren” and others concentrate rare elements. The presence of lepidiolite and lithium should point to spodumene in deeper zones. you also need to look for beryl. It’s usually present in lithium pegmatities. The Jos plateau region if that’s where your property is located is also notable for mesozoic era intrusions of S type granites forming ring dikes. That area has been explored and mined to a minimal extent for tin. Tin granites also contain tourmaline, spodumene and beryl. Consult with a field geologist to determine if it’s worth you effort to dig it up… you might have gem quality material or not… you don’t want to destroy productive farmland and waste your effort by digging deep holes and not find something that is of gem quality. Many pegmatities do not have gem quality minerals in them.

Red garnets, green are peridot. Those I am very certain. If red had pink & purple then becomes Ruby but I see neither in red stones.
Green peridot is very near crust near volcanic activity when lava breaks open layers of crust forcing layer upward.
Other colors verify Volcanic activity.
Orange gems could indicate mixture or formation of other stones while cooling period. Until ground via stone grinder I could not verify types for certain.
Labratory processes gems and do not analyze raw uncut stones.

Last photo reminds me of cornelian.