An enjoyable and eventful trip was organised by J K Diamonds Institute for its students to a Gemstone and Mineral mines near Jalgaon. Around 15 students participated in this mines visit.
A pleasant morning to begin with, as the sizzle and jokes began among the youngsters as soon as the journey commenced. During the journey, the student exchanged pleasantries, introduced their work profile and shared their business models. Students from different backgrounds participated in the field trip ranging from Diamond merchants, jewelry manufacturers, wholesalers as well as retailer and professionals.
The stay was organised at Maitreyas Hotels & Resorts. Upon reaching the destination, we were welcomed Mr. Ashish Kasat, father of JK Alumni and owner of the mines. He introduced himself and the struggle he faced in building his business. He explained how he found it difficult to find customers for minerals in India. This made him explore for opportunities in international markets. Eventually, he realised the scope of this business as India is the only country in which these minerals are found in such volumes. Later, he completely shifted his focus on buyers in international markets. where an American breakfast awaited us before leaving for the mines visit.
Conference was organized by Mr. Kasat where he gave a presentation on what is the study of Geology (study of rock), Mineralogy (study of minerals) and Gemology (study of gems). Also explained was the types of rocks used in Gemology – i.e. Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.
The most influencing factors that were discussed during the conference were:
Thereafter, Jaynil Ajmera, Gemologist at J K Diamonds Institute, took over and spoke about the importance of gemstones and uses of gemstones in jewelry. He also spoke about the purpose of the visit and how it would benefit the students who would be entering the trade.
Mr. Ajmera later spoke about the supply chain of these spectacular gemstones and minerals from “Mines to Market” and different mines in the world. Also discussed was the gemstones’ manufacturing (cutting) markets and how it reaches the end user. It was noted that the demand of gemstones and healing properties of gemstones is steadily on a rise. The conference was concluded with an optimistic perspective of the future of the gemstones market being positive.
Later, Mr. Kasat and Jaynil Ajmera lead the students to the mines. The mines were located in the outskirts. The students while exploring found several minerals such as Zeolites, Apophyllite, Stilbite, crystals in abundance apart from lava rock. These mines have given out several other gems such as Calcite, Mica, Quartz, Fluorite, Amethyst, etc. However, the highlight of the mines are the Apophyllites. Although not that well-known by the general public apophyllite is quite popular among mineral collectors. It offers so much to the collector due its beauty, pastel colors, a bright luster, interesting and unusual associations with other exotic minerals
Exploration and Extraction
Here’s a look of the mines and the blast that was undertaken for extraction.
Mr. Ashish Kasat mentioned that the Apophyllite crystal are the only naturally polished looking crystal in appearance. However, these cannot be cut or faceted any further due to its brittle nature. This mine is one of the biggest in the world for Apophyllites. These rocks are volcanic rocks formed 40 to 50 million years ago. Students were excited to see the traces of volcanic rocks. These rocks are believed to have energy (in spiritual nature). It was definitely an amazing experience to witness the site and to view these rocks with such outer surface having beautiful looking crystals inside them, which are exposed from the mines only after they are exploded.
Mr. Ashish’s love for these minerals could be clearly seen as he explained with all his heart to each student. The students were also allowed to collect and retain few minerals and gems which they found after each blast. On occasions, under supervision, students were taught to operate the remote for the blasts.
Rare collection of the mines was shown to the students including the Matrix Green Apophyllite. Some of these rare stones have also been donated by Mr. Kasat as gifts to the Gargoti Museum (Nasik), Natural History Museum (United States) as well as to museums in Germany and United Kingdom. Also seen were Geode crystals. Geode are geological secondary structures which occur in certain sedimentary and volcanic rocks.
Mr. Kasat explained how he developed his market in India and the efforts it took to become a major exporter of these minerals in European countries, especially Germany. He also explained the pricing at which the minerals trades and the logistics used for delivery.
Mr. Kasat also shared about his plans for new business expansion with exploration in Africa for Gold and gemstones.
The mines visit was indeed memorable and exposed the students to a unique experience of this prestigious industry. The visit ended with a gala lunch at Mr. Kasat’s Dhaba.