Brazil is home to mining operations that unearth tourmaline, topaz, quartz, opals, aquamarines, brazilianite, and agates. Hire a local company to tour the area and have access to the mining operations and raw stone sellers.
Brazil is well known as a hotspot for gem mining. Brazil is so well known for the incredible gems that can be mined there that you can book geology tours that will allow you access to the most stunning stones the country offers.
If you visit Brazil to collect rocks, do not leave empty handed, there are many ways to collect beautiful samples of these gems and bring them home.
Rock shops are common in Brazil.
Types of Rocks in Brazil
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
Tourmaline is a brightly colored transparent stone made of silica and borite.
Tourmaline was first mined in Brazil and the highest quality is till found there making it an important rock to Brazilians.
One of the main ways to identify tourmaline is the variation of color. The mineral was originally believed to be a type of emerald, but it was classified as a distinct mineral after being more thoroughly studied.
The main mining area for tourmaline is Mina Gerais, but special varieties have been found in Paraibas in northern Brazil.
Tourmaline from Brasil varies in color and has been discovered dark green, pink, blue and red.
This transparent mineral can range in color from light brown, yellow, orange or even blue.
These crystals are found primarily in the Minas Gerais area where they are mined for jewelry making.
The topaz found in Brazil is yellow and pink and is often compared to the colors of the sun.
The pinks are more rare than the yellow and brown colors.
Brazil has deposits of imperial topaz.
Quartz crystals are found most commonly in southern Brazil, particularly around Rio Grande Du Sol.
Quartz is also mined at Minas Gerais, Goiaz and Bahia with amethyst being the most prized in the area.
The crystals have been a large export from Brazil for decades.
Quartz deposits take many shapes and sizes in Brazil and collectors will have success in rivers and streams.
Governor Valaderes is a gem trading center in Brazil where large quartz crystals can be purchased by collectors. There are wholesale and retail rock dealers in this city.
Large amethyst geodes are often the most sought after samples from the region.
Opals are semi transparent to translucent gems that have flecks of iridescent color and they are found in the northern mnes of Brazil. One known area is in the Horca area of Brazil in the sandstone formations there.
These opals are often hand dug and found in sandstone which is different than where opals are found in other countries.
The opals most famous in Brazil are bright white with iridescent flecks. The iridescence makes these opals precious opals rather than common opals.
Opals have been difficult to find in Brazil, but more local research has indicated that you are most likely to find a deposit in a river valley.
Aquamarines of gem quality are almost all found in Brazil.
Aquamarine can vary in color from bright blue, blue green, yellow green and pale green. The brightest blue is the highest quality.
Aquamarines are in the beryl family with emeralds. They have the same crystal structure and hardness.
Several types of aquamarines are mined here. “Brazilian Aqua” is one variety and they generally have a green and blue color and sellers often heat the stones to bring out the blue and minimize the green tones.
Marta Rocha is an especially deep blue version that was named after a Miss Brazil.
Maxixe blue beryl is a rare type of aquamarine that has been mined in Minas Gerais. The stone is very deep blue, but it can fade when exposed to sunlight. Many believe that the vein is almost exhausted.
The stones are often heated to improve the blue color and this does not need to be disclosed by the seller.
The largest aquamarine ever found was over 10,000 carats. It was found in Dom Pedro, Brazil and is on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
Aquamarines are gem quality stones that are cut for jewelry, and are relatively inexpensive and beautiful.
Aquamarine is a bright stone often associated with happiness and it is the birthstone for March.
Braziliantine is found in Brazil in the Minas Gerais and it is a bright yellow green semi precious stone.
The stone has a hardness of 5.5 and is transparent to translucent with a vitreous luster.
The yellow color comes from aluminum phosphate in the crystals. The crystal structure and composition of these stones has not been determined.
It is often confused for other minerals like beryl or topaz.
Brazilianitne is often found in areas where beryls like aquamarine are found. They may crystallize when granite is heated.
Precious stone quality Brazilianite is used in jewelry.
Geology Tours of Brazil
The absolute best way to see all the gems and minerals that Brazil has to offer is to book a tour.
Tour groups can get access to wholesale raw stones, see the working of mines that are off limit to the public and have special retail shopping experiences.
Geology and rock hunting tours are possible in many areas of Brazil, so book one on your trip.
Be sure to read plenty of reviews and find a reputable tour company.
Rocks in Brazil
Brazil is an amazing place for the rock hounds. There are so many special stones to be found there.
While it is possible to find some of these stones in rivers and streams in the coastal north where most of these deposits exist, be sure you are collecting where permitted.
Obey all posted signs and local laws about collecting and removing any sand, shells or stones.
National Parks and Preserves generally have rules against rock collecting and violating these rule can end in a fine or customs problems when leaving Brazil.
Consider supporting the local economy and purchasing some high quality polished or raw stones from the many rock stops in Brazil.
Sao Luis is a great place to go rock shopping. Its proximity to the mining areas make it a great stop.