Turkish Diaspore is the color changing variety of the mineral diaspore (an aluminum hydroxide), discovered in the Kucukcamliktepe and Buyukcamliktepe mines of the Ilbir Mountains in the Milas county of Muğla in southwestern Turkey.
Initially documented in the early 1950s, Diaspore crystals in the Ilbir Mountains in Anatolia, Turkey were extensively studied by the Turkish Government mining exploration and research establishment until 1972. In 1972 Etibank acquired the mining rights to all Turkish deposits and started mining the area for bauxite from underground galleries – Diaspore along with Gibbsite and Boehmite are the major components of the aluminum ore, bauxite.
First reported in the late 1970s, Color Change Diaspore crystals became popular with collectors after being promoted at the Munich and Basel mineral fairs. The species was first recognized as a plausible gemstone in 1977 when a large enough crystal was examined by the Gemological Association of Great Britain Gem Testing Laboratory in London. In 1982 the Turkish Government halted all mining activity by Etibank in the Ilbir Mountains and the bauxite mine was abandoned. Nearly 9.5 tons of gem quality diaspore crystals were extracted between 1978 and 1982. Commercial faceting of Turkish Diaspore began in the early 1980s. Many Diaspore specimens were extracted and sent overseas by Euro-Asia Ltd., who introduced the gem to the market in 1994. In 2005 all Anatolian mining areas were privatized by public auction and all of the exploration and extraction licenses for this area were sold by Etibank to a private company called Milenyum Mining Co. The company reopened the mine in 2006 to extract both bauxite and gem quality Diaspore crystals, and today controls the world’s only commercial source of Turkish Disapore.
Public Domain 2012. Andrew Williams