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The earliest discovery of corundum there came about as a result of gold mining (Shaposhnikov, 1945).In 1943, geologists discovered gray and blue sapphire fragments in the alluvium of the Sutara River, but they showed little interest because gold mining was more important at the time.Cabochon-grade sapphire from Sutara (figure 3) recently underwent gemological and mineralogical study at the Far East Geological Institute, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEGI FEB RAS) in Vladivostok.The bedrock of the Sutara mining region consists of early Cambrian siltstones, sandstones, gneiss, marbles, marbleized limestones, and crystal slates that interstratify with clay slates, carbonate, and graphitic rocks (figure 4).Secondary minerals of these rocks are calcite, talc, chlorite, and scapolite.Microscopic examination shows that the forsterite has been substantially converted to serpentine, which is present as fibrous chrysotile and needle-like antigorite.Secondary minerals are zircon, apatite, magnetite, and titanite.Carbonate rocks in contact with granites became marble, and serpentinites developed in the exocontact zone.
Their primary fluid inclusions contain diaspore crystals and a low-density CO mixture.
Russia’s only placer deposit of gem-quality sapphire is at Nezametnoya (Pakhomova et al., 2006).
Another Russian source of sapphire (figure 1) lies along the Sutara River, in the Jewish Autonomous Region bordering China (figure 2).
Scientific studies of the sapphire’s mineral associations, genesis, and gemological characteristics were not performed before the mine was closed in 2005. The Sutara mine district is located in the Jewish Autonomous Region (Russian Far East), approximately 36 km (22 miles) southeast of the town of Obluche and about 200 km (124 miles) west of the city of Birobidzhan. The Sutara mine district is located in the Jewish Autonomous Region (Russian Far East), approximately 36 km (22 miles) southeast of the town of Obluche and about 200 km (124 miles) west of the city of Birobidzhan. From 2009 to 2011, the authors conducted fieldwork searching for gem-quality sapphire in the basin of the Sutara River.
Corundum-bearing rock samples and sapphire crystals were discovered at the outer limits of the area (Pakhomova et al., 2009).