Malaita gemstones. Could they become a valuable export commodity?

Dear Editor,

You might wish to consider this letter.

A couple of days ago, I was contacted via my website – www.solomonislandsinfocus.com by Mr. Mahesh Shende, the Chief Technology Officer at Crescendo WorldWide Pvt Ltd, Pune Area in India.Mr. Shende said he wanted to advice me about an online webinar organized by the Thailand Government “to understand the business possibilities for companies in the artificial gem sector.”

My immediate thoughts turned to the Solomon Islands where in 2018 the biggest crystal natural moissanite was found in Malaita.

The crystals natural moissanite that was uncovered in East Kwara’ae and measured on an average of 15 mm while the biggest piece measured about 20 mm. This set a new local, regional and world record

Until the discovery, the world’s biggest crystal natural moissanite ever recorded was 4.14 mm discovered in northeastern Israel along the Kishon River in 2012.

According to the Instructor and Head of the Gemology Department at the Technical Institute of Malaita, Henry Dao, he said “Moissanite is one of the rarest mineral on the planet earth.”

 Mr.Dao told the Solomon Star at the time that synthetic moissanite was created as a substitute for diamonds.

 “Moissanite is almost identical to diamond with a hardness of 9.25 on Moh’s scale and diamond is 10,” he explained.

The discovery of moissanite in Malaita Island indicates that there are sources of this rare mineral (kimberlite pipe) out there that are yet to be located.

“Our research team is working on conducting another field research in the aim of locating the sources or the primary deposits of moissanite mineral and other valuable gemstones like diamond, topaz, zircon and etc,” 
he said.
The Director of the Technical Institute of Malaita Bennard Bakote’e said in 2018 that TIM was aiming at developing a gemstones cottage industry in the province. 

Mr. Bakote’e also said MIT was also planning to have a gemmology school, a school that would focus mainly on gemstones development.

I am not aware how MIT has progressed developing a gemstone cottage industry or a gemmology school, but I would hope to learn of successful developments.

If Mr. Bakote would like to pursue a possible link with Mr. Shende in India for maybe the export of gemstones from Malaita, then I will be very happy to provide a contact address, if requested.

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