DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017/11/S01.057

PRECIOUS AND DECORATIVE NON-METALLIC MINERALS FROM EAST KAZAKHSTAN: GEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS AND PRESENT UTILISATION

Z. I. Chernenko, J. Chlachula
Saturday 9 September 2017 by Libadmin2017

References: 17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2017, www.sgem.org, SGEM2017 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-98-8 / ISSN 1314-2704, 29 June - 5 July, 2017, Vol. 17, Issue 11, 447-454 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017/11/S01.057

ABSTRACT

Gemstones inspired people since the very beginnings of humankind due to their esthetic nature and as a symbol of lasting value and social superiority. Precious and decorative stones from the East Kazakhstan Region are known in this area of Central Asia since the early prehistory. The most precious among the Kazakhstan gemstones – emeralds – were processed by the factories in the Urals in the 16th-19th Centuries. Among other well-known non-metallic minerals there are sapphires, topazes and tourmalines, mostly occurring in the NE part of the territory. Local agates and chalcedony are largely represented by hand-made articles. There are also varieties of high-quality quartz and many other kinds of decorative stones, including the famous Altai jasper. The traditional position of local gemstones has changed with their modern application in science and technology. On contrary, demands for the local natural stones and their use for jewelry and artistic goods/souvenirs has dropped sharply due to the increasing introduction of synthetic stones to the World markets and their mass-scale and cheap production. Yet, the traditionally most precious gemstones have been stable in the people’s value ranking, also as a form of a financial investment. Comparing to other countries, the East Kazakhstan precious stone deposits are still poorly known and only locally exploited. The national industrial application of the Kazakhstan hardest minerals is multi-facetted. Diamonds are widely used for cutting and polishing of other hard materials; rubies and sapphires are largely synthetic and applied in high-precision medical and other technical instruments. Quartz from the Altai region is employed in high-tech implements in radio-industry, optics, etc. Finally, varieties of agates and chalcedonies are used in production of detail parts of electronic precision balances and other measurement tools. Yet, for a genuine art and jewelry, the precious stones still remain as the basic, irreplaceable and eternal material in which achievements of human inspiration are permanently retained. In spite of the immense mineral riches, the East Kazakhstan gemstones industry is still largely limited to small-scale and almost exclusively locally operating mining activities. The major natural potential of precious non-metallic minerals justifies new prospection activities for the gemstone-hosting mineral ore deposits that are currently carried out, promising a revival of the once flourishing Central Asian gemstone trade and economy. The paper provides a short overview of (semi-) precious and decorative non-metallic minerals of the East Kazakhstan provenance and their future exploration in terms of their predictive depositional ore distribution and industrial applications.

Keywords: precious, semi-precious, decorative minerals, exploration, East Kazakhstan.

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