By Neville Ryan
This is an update on the supply of Lapis, Aquamarine and Tourmaline from Afghanistan.
I have been told by Afghani suppliers that government intervention in Afghanistan has meant that very little Lapis has been produced for quite some time. This was reflected in Tucson this year where virtually no new Lapis could be found. The vast majority, if not all, of the pieces available came from old stock already in the U.S.A and from Europe.
The large highly quality desirable “character” pieces are now very hard to find and prices for theses pieces are soaring. I believe one particular piece in Europe sold for over $60,000. One Afghani dealer told me that IF he can get stock he would now have to pay 20% to 50% more than what he was previously buying it for.
Prices for Aquamarine from Afghanistan are also rising dramatically due to the same reason that Lapis prices are rising. Bombings in the region have ruined many mining locations as well. Specimen pieces appear to be the most dramatically affected. A vast majority of the specimens for sale are older stock and replacing them now would mean paying much higher prices for comparable pieces. Considering the small amount of specimens available and the high cost of those pieces we felt that we could not justify any new purchases so we are going through our older stock and will continue until we sell out.
Prices for Afghani Tourmaline are rising in line with Lapis and Aquamarine. Larger high quality specimen pieces are very difficult to find and there are probably even less quality Tourmaline specimens than Aquamarine. As with aquamarine, the effects of bombings in the region have ruined many mining locations.