Pakistan has gained a prominent position in the international market for supplying a wide variety of gemstones and mineral specimens. The northern area of Pakistan is enriched with the variety of mineral treasures that include peridot, emerald, aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, ruby, sapphire, garnet, red spinel, pargasite, actinolite, diopside, epidote, vesuvianite, axinite, rodingite, sphene, fluorite, apatite, zircon, rutile, azurite, moonstone, amethyst, rose quartz and agate.
Northern Pakistan is composed of three lofty, snow-covered mountain ranges: Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram. These geomorphic features reflect the geological setting which, in many respects, is unique in the world. These ranges were formed as result of two collisions between India and Asia that occurred between 100 and 50 Ma (million years) ago. These collisions have induced crustal thickening in these mountains, which has resulted in metamorphism and multiple phases of deformation in these rocks. This was followed by the emplacement of leucogranites and associated pegmatites. Theses geological processes have produced a distinctive mineral kingdom within Northern Pakistan.
Most of the gemstones are pegmatite-related, such as aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, and apatite. Some of the gemstones are hydrothermal and /or metamorphic in genesis such as emerald, ruby, sapphire, pargasite, rutile, azurite and pink topaz. The pegmatites are generally composed of feldspar (albite and microcline), quartz, biotite, muscovite and tourmaline. The important gemstones of Pakistan are listed below:
About Pakistani Gemstones:
The trio of impressive mountain ranges that circle north and northwest Pakistan-namely, Himalaya (Pir Panjal), Karakorum and Hindukush--are where the country's gemstones are most often found. Pakistan is a mineral-rich country's gemstones are most often found. Pakistan is a mineral-rich country and exports many gemstones to the world market. Often, the gems are mined from very inhospitable areas.
The aquamarine gem belongs to the beryl mineral group and has a hexagonal crystalline structure. In Pakistan, it is found in Chitral, Kaghan, the Shigar valley of Baltistan and the Neelam Valley of Azad Kashmir. Aquamarine is transparent and ranges in colour from sky blue to sea green
Like aquamarine, the emerald belongs to the beryl group of gems. Emeralds are geologically rare, but fine specimens are located in Swat, Pakistan. Pakistani emeralds are medium to deep green in color.
Garnets are used extensively in jewelry. Garnet is the name given to a family of minerals with similar structures. Not all are of gem quality. In Pakistan, the blood red pyrope as well as the purple almadine and the green-colored grossularite occur in the Kalat, Quetta, Dir and Swat areas
Rubies range in color from light to deep red. The biggest Pakistani deposits are in Hunza Valley of the northern Kashmir, once known as the Gilgit Agency. The Hunza ruby is a deep "blood" red. Besides the nation of Burma, Hunza is the only region to have ever produced this type of ruby.
The peridot is lime green in color, with a hint of gold. It is the August birthstone. Popular in ancient Egyptian and Roman times, the peridot's popularity skyrocket in the 1990s after rich deposits were found in the Kashmir region of Pakistan.
Tourmaline comes in a variety of colors including golden yellow, lime green and golden brown. It is found in pencil-shaped crystals. In Pakistan it occurs in Chitral, Swat, Dir, Gilgit and Azad Jammu Kashmir.
Other popular gemstones that have been found in Pakistan include topaz, ruby, amethyst, and sapphire.