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Mineral Harder than Diamond Discovered in Israel

The Israeli company, Shefa Yamin, has found a mineral that, until now, was believed to exist only in space. The mineral, embedded in a bluish gem and baptized as Carmel sapphire or Carmelite for its chemical composition and in honor of Mount Carmel, the place where it was found, was included last week in the official list of the International Mineralogical Association.

Formed by titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al) and zirconium (Zr) hence the suffix TAZ in its name it was found in the volcanic rock of the Haifa region, embedded in a crystal of corundum, another mineral, of extraordinary hardness, composed of aluminum oxide, which is usually present in nature in the form of ruby or sapphire. Its crystalline structure and its properties make it a unique element, whose composition bears much resemblance to the Allendale, a mineral discovered after analyzing a meteorite that crossed the Mexican skies 1969 and that fell in the Valle de Allende after exploding in thousands of pieces that were disseminated by the state of Chihuahua.

The company Shefa Yamin, based in the city of Acre, has been working since 2014 on the extraction of volcanic sapphires in northern Israel, in the vicinity of the Kishon River. The company, dedicated exclusively to the mining of precious stones in Israel, has already registered the sapphires of Carmel brand for the future commercialization of the gems. “In today’s world, where the prices of precious stones are determined mainly by their rarity, the Carmel sapphire is a unique discovery because it has not been found anywhere else in the world,” says Avi Taub, president of the company. mining

The largest gem found so far of this new mineral is 33.3 carats. Its color covers an extensive range of veined blues with white and brown-orange – thanks to the traces of calcium, scandium and magnesium it also contains in which manifests itself in the form of veins in black and dark green tones within the bluish crystal. According to the experts, its rarity, hardness and size make it a unique piece for high jewelry.

The main study on the new mineral was carried out by a team of experts led by the Australian geologist, William Griffin, expert in the earth’s crust, who initially visited Israel in 2016 to analyze several rocks of moissanite, another mineral from the space found by the Israeli company near the city of Haifa , in the same site as the Carmeltazite and which is formed in the absence of oxygen. Its appearance of diamond could confuse the inexperienced eye, but it is a silicon carbide stone that today is even synthesized in laboratories for the jewelry industry.

According to Griffin, “Israel has large deposits that contain different types of precious stones, including diamonds. This is really a gold mine, “said the geologist. At the moment, Shefa Yamin say they are unaware of the possible reserves of the new mineral, but they are very hopeful with the good results obtained. Besides these rare findings, a few months ago they extracted a spectacular ruby of 1.7 carats, 8.26 centimeters.

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