The Panjshir Emerald is the most valuable green gem in the world. The unique emerald found in remote regions of Afghanistan has been used as an accent on jewelry, a taweez (handwritten talisman), and even as a currency.
The deep green gem is mined from a site near Kabul, Afghanistan, and was first discovered there by local villagers living in the Panjshir Valley. They made a fortune by climbing trees and digging for the precious gemstone in the region’s rugged mountain terrain.
Panjshir Emeralds originated from the Naryn prism, located at the eastern edge of Panjshir Valley, 50 miles (8 km) south of Kabul. It is part of Naryn Prism Clusters, a collection of green stones that initially came from a single location. They can be found in different locations around Afghanistan and Iran’s Golestan Province.
The Panjshir emerald was discovered in 2008 by Kamal Faizi, a caretaker of the Panjshir valley. He said it while showing his find to friends, and they were astonished. More than two years after that, the emerald was evaluated by Günter Meissner and is believed to be worth 50 million US dollars.
This gemstone reached international media attention when it sold for 21 million US dollars in June 2014, making it the most expensive gemstone in history.
The Panjshir emerald has a clarity grade of “vvs” and is set into a ring. It is widely believed that the emerald was discovered in a mine in the Panjshir valley in the northeastern part of Afghanistan.
Panjshir emerald is mined and produced by a small community of artisanal miners. They work about 70 feet above the ground, under the direction of the local government. The emeralds are found deep underground in the local river systems, which are fast-flowing and nourished by mineral-rich groundwater. These factors create conditions that favor crystallization; a process already present millions of years ago.
Properties of Panjshir Emerald
Panjshir Emeralds are a combination of green tourmaline and chromium. Tourmaline comes from hydrothermal degrees, and the green color results from a mixture of chromium and iron oxide.
For many people, emeralds are either extremely shiny or extremely dull. The Panjshir Emerald has a rare combination of both qualities.
The emerald comes in every shade, from deep forest green to lush spring foliage. And they’re all very shiny, making them an ideal stone for jewelry.
Some of the Panjshir Emeralds have high clarity and are transparent. These are used in jewelry and sold in international markets.
The emerald is found with mica flakes trapped inside, making it a true multicolored stone. These stones are also used to make jewelry.
Panjshir Emeralds are well known for their durability and hardness, second only to diamond on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
It’s easy to see why this is one of the most precious stones in the world.
The dimensions of the stone are as follows:
Crystal system: Hexagonal
Color: Deep green (Chloromelanite)
Classification: Beryllium aluminum silicate hex BeAlSiO(OH,F)
Chemical Composition: Be(Li1.5Al0.5)SiO(OH,F).5HO
Cleavage : None Observed
Uses of Panjshir Emerald
Panjshir Emerald is used in traditional medicine, ornamentation, and chemistry. It is mined in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan and is not accessible to the public. To mine this emerald, a miner must enter an excavated tunnel caved in by landslides tens of meters high that are hundreds of years old.
The Panjshir Emerald is featured in many movies, including Avatar and Cinderella Man but has also been used as a prop for jewelry and a grand prize award at car races like Le Mans.
The Panjshir Emerald is also commonly used in chemistry as a catalyst. A catalyst is an agent that speeds up or slows down a chemical reaction but does not undergo any permanent changes. The mineral uses at this point are still being discovered and are not confirmed, but it is assumed that the emerald is being used to speed up reactions in synthesizing organic compounds.