There is not enough time to drive up so I will just fly and get transport when I get to Zambia.
I am busy mining amethyst and just need to go through the 100 plus kg that has already been mined and these will be the core of the minerals I am taking to Japan my reasoning went. I also want to see what new ventures we can get our hands into. In Zambia I heard that a German buyer almost got my lot. My Zambian partner arrived at they were losing the truck with the amethyst I paid to have mined.
At the airport you will get fleeced. Transport to the coach station is a whopping $30. From the central bus station the last bus leave at 10.00 for my destination. But as fortune dictates, we had to circle in the air for 30 minutes because some VIP plane has not yet left. I got to the station a few minutes late.
Plan B, get a bus to another destination and then wait at the T junction for any type of transport to take me to where I want to go. This is always interesting. I have two suitcases because I will pack stones in both when I fly back. But here it becomes interesting. Transport b do not accommodate a large suitcase. So my suitcase had to be accommodated on my lap. Imagine that! What will we not do after the pursuit of stones.
So I know what you are asking! Why doesn't he just rent a car from the airport. I have done that and have burnt my fingers. In Zambia you can only get car rental plans that includes 100 km per day. Going where I was going means 700 km one way. And then you pay 44 cents US for every extra km over 100km. So I go native in traveling. I will rent when I get to my destination.
The tricky part in sourcing stones in Zambia is the export of the stones you buy. You need an export permit for any stone you take out of the country. To get an export permit you have to work together with an existing mine that will help you to get the papers. Not everybody is willing to and it can take a week to get these papers and they want to see the goods before they issue any paperwork. I have to go through this every time I export anything
The Zambians are friendly gregarious people with open hearts. All of them are well informed and will drive a hard bargain. Stones are often damaged when they get to the marketplace because any kind of wrapping paper is either unobtainable or expensive. So you need to source your stones at the mines and this means traveling to remote places. And because the rainy season has now started it often means mud and effort to get there. This is definitely not for everybody.
So what am I sourcing here? We are mining the most delicate amethyst with rutilated inclusions. Each crystal is a master piece. Then we have smoky quartz with fantastic shapes. Large clear quartz crystals that are often doubly terminated. And citrine Japan law twins. Cost often exceeds return when mining and the best pieces has to fetch top prices to keep the mines open.
Oftentimes we face competition when buying. I traveled the extra 400 km to Mansa after the citrine Japan law twins and arrived to find that the line they were mining had collapsed and that they are now just taking out soil and that a Congolese dealer bought up all the best stock already. This is what we often face when we are just buying. But when you mine you can get lucky and get something good yourself.
So I still need to make my way back and clean up this lot for the Tokyo show that starts the 1st of December 2017.
Let me know if you enjoyed this article. Be blessed and come and see us at our store in Hartbeespoort or at the shows