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A Letter from Pakistan

True adventure from Pala International’s daring suppliers

One good friend of Pala sent these recent photos to remind us all why gems are exciting and valuable. They are always found in difficult places, it seems. The lore and adventure to get them is an age old treasure hunter’s dream.
 

Jeep in Valley photo image
Our supplier’s jeep in the Shigar Valley mountains where the pegamatites form, producing fine aquamarine for cutting and specimens.

 

From our intrepid supplier:

7/20/2005, Northern Areas, Pakistan: Currently there is not too much production of good quality specimens. The miners are working, but they say that this year has not produced as much as in previous years.

There is also a lot of competition in procurement from the mines. I have seen a lot of dealers who participated in the Sainte-Marie aux Mines show and will also participate in the Denver show. The big dealers who have a hold in the mines do not want other, smaller dealers to buy from the mines. When I went to the mines many of us were told we couldn’t buy specimens at a preferred price, so no need to show us, etc. Obviously this breeds resentment. On the one hand, big dealers with their cash are seen as creating problems for the little guy; on the other, it is seen as the “partition of God,” so they can’t do a thing.

When you are able to buy from the mine, it is important to pay a good price to sustain a relationship. The technique of big dealers is to buy some times very expensive and some time cheap.

I have bought specimens from the miners and have given them my cell and office numbers and told them they can call me when something special is mined.

At the moment it is not too late to forge these trade relationships. We do a lot of business because much product is available via the mines at good and reasonable prices. So we can work a lot and become more successful together. Step by step will be good and perfect...

 

Aquamarine photo image
Shigar River Valley aquamarines from a recent supplier.
Jeep Crossing River photo image
Traversing the river early in the day before it reaches dangerous flood stage, washing away many vehicles that try to cross. One friend of Pala had a close call when the vehicle he was traveling in made a crossing and was indeed flooded, just this past month in these same rains.
Washed-Out Road photo image
Road completely washed out from the recent rains. Our supplier: “An example of the roads around Shigar. There is no other road that would take us to our destination. These types of roads are not rare in the Shigar Valley.”
Shigar Valley photo image
A view from the Shigar Valley.
Terrain photo image
The terrain around Dassu, Gilgit Division, Northern Areas.

 

7/19/2005: I was “imprisoned” in the Shigar Valley. There were floodwaters at our back side and front side.

I left Scardu but the roads were blocked from seven different sides. The weather was not good, the flight canceled, and the road was blocked. The drive from Scardu to Peshawar was 36 hours because the road was very bad due to sliding.

P.S. I have amazing pictures of the “magic room” where D. bathes and I have also bathed. It is a natural hot-water spring. Very good for health. When you are in Pakistan I must take you there and you will also bathe.

 

Hot Spring photo image
Rest and recuperation: A wonderful hot spring in the village of Chutrung that many gem dealers have used to soak away the day’s driving bumps and grinds.
Mine photo image
This mine, near the Nit Valley (near Shigar), continues to be worked, usually in winter.
Mountain photo image
Coming from Dassu Village near the Nit Valley, our supplier was told by miners that this mountain is known to hold mineral specimens and so is the next to be explored.
Rainbow photo image
A rainbow over the “Aqua Valley”!

 

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