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Wealth of Brazil for the Gems and Jewelry Industry

Published Date : Apr 2, 2019

Brazil – A land rich in gemstones

There are about a hundred gemstones found in Brazil. The most significant with respect to production and uniqueness are Tourmalines, Topaz, Opals, Quartz (Agate, Amethyst and Citrine) and Emeralds. Brazil is also one of the sole producers of Imperial Topaz and Paraiba tourmaline. These two, and Opal from Piauí are world-renowned. The country produces diamonds, rubies and sapphires, as well, albeit on a lesser scale.

Gemstone deposits are spread across Brazil’s vast geographies. The Northeast primarily has Emerald, Amethyst, Citrine, Hyaline Quartz, Elbaite, Aquamarine, Garnet, Morganite and Opal. The Central region primarily has Emerald and Diamond deposits. In the South, there is occurrence of Amethyst, Citrine, Agate and Diamond. The East primarily has gemstones associated with Pegmatites and Hydrothermal veins, Plio-pleistocene sedimentary placer deposits and isolated occurrences of diamonds.

State-wise Production Spread

Gem production in Brazil mainly takes place in the states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Goiás. Minas Gerais is the largest producer and exporter of gemstones in the country and accounts for 74% of the official production, which includes Imperial Topaz, Beryl, Tourmaline, Spondumene and Brazilianite. Bahia produces mainly Emerald, Amethyst and Aquamarine and is the second largest producer of uncut colored stones after the State of Grande do Sul, which is one of the most important producers of Agate and Amethyst in the world. Mato Grosso produces Garnet, Topaz, Zircon, Diopside, varieties of Quartz and Tourmaline on a smaller scale. Goiás primarily produces Emerald, Garnet, Topaz, Quartz (Citrine and Amethyst) and Tourmaline. Diamond production is also significant in Goiás and Mato Grosso, where diamonds have been unearthed by prospectors since the beginning of the 20th century. Currently, the best prospects for diamond production in these states are to be found in kimberlites.

In 2005, Brazil was ranked first in the world in variety and quantity of gemstones produced (Baretto and Bittar, 2010). Today, Brazil stands as the leading producer of Amethyst, Citrine and Topaz, and also produces a major share of Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Chrysoberyl (Alexandrite and Cat's-eye), Emerald, Garnet, and Opal (e.g., Baretto and Bittar, 2010). 

 

Diamonds

Brazil once was the world’s leading diamond producer, but has steadily slipped in ranking since kimberlite deposits were discovered (1869) in other places. Today, its production amounts to less than 1%. Most of Brazil’s diamonds have been recovered from placer deposits.

 

Emeralds

Brazil is the second biggest producer of emeralds in the world. WhileBrazilian emeraldsarefamous around the world, they are not as popular locally.This is mostly because of price sensitivity of consumers. Thecountry’s emeralds are sent to domestic cutters as well as foreign cutting centers around the globe, before they reach jewellers. Companies from Jaipur, India, are known to purchase the production of whole mines. They have cutting capabilities for all sizes and qualities of emerald, and a market for the products too. Brazilian cutters have higher labor costs than places like India, so they tend to retain quality that can absorb these costs. It’s a fine balance to pay the right price for good products to make it profitable to be able to compete in the global marketplace. Brazilian cutters have found a profitable niche in fine-quality calibrated goods that are enticing to jewellers worldwide. This includes large stones.

 

Jewelry

Brazilians prefer less-expensive colored gemstones, and make jewelry purchases more often than consumers from other places. They are extremely style-conscious. Brazilian jewelry designers are often known to create four collections a year. The lines are usually in keeping with current fashion trends. This keeps Brazilian jewelry constantly in the eye of the international market. Jewelry trade show Feninjer is testimony to Brazil’s design and color splendour!

 

Gold

Brazil has a history in gold that stretches back to the 1700s, when a gold rush in the then-Portuguese colony opened up the major gold-producing region of Ouro Preto. Since then, mining has continued to be an important driver of the Brazilian economy, which is the largest in Latin America and the ninth largest in the world.

Brazil’s gold remains relatively unexploited. This makes the country an attractive jurisdiction for exploration. 

 

Market Climate

In 2012, approximately 61% of the diamonds and gemstones were mined by individuals and small time independent operators, while major mining companies mined 39%. Since gem production in Brazil is mostly carried out by prospectors and a small number of mining companies, governmental control on production and sale of gemstones is limited.

Historically, local tax burden from sale of jewelry, sale of uncut or polished stones, and even mineral extraction has also been quite high in Brazil. This resulted in some activities that escape official registration. So, the correct quantification of production is a bit elusive. However, a lowered tax rates seen in the recent years has bettered the scenario of underground activity.

International gemstone trading is usually done in U.S. dollars, so gemstones receive less dollar value when they are sold on account of the dollar rising. It now costs considerably more to mine and cut gemstones in Brazil, and the finished products receive lower dollar value. To overcome this hurdle, many Brazilian companies have shifted focus to branded jewelry. The higher value of this segment helps recover costs of manufacturing.

Brazil's domestic jewelry market continued to grow even when, in recent times, luxury goods was on the decline around the globe. This is largely because of its growing economy and purchasing power.

To ensure it stays on top of the product, emphasis is laid on formal training and education at the university and post-graduate levels. Brazil was reportedly the first country in South America to offer a jewelry design course, and quality standards are meticulously enforced to date. More than 30 public institutes of higher learning and various private ones have courses in jewelry design and manufacturing, emphasizing traditional methods and modern computer-aided design (CAD).

Government trade associations also provide training, technical assistance and marketing support. The IBGM (The Brazilian Gems and Jewelry Trade Association) and the Brazilian Export Promotion Agency, APEX, also work to raise the quality and image of Brazilian jewelry. They promote design-oriented jewelry with training, technology support, promotional activities like competitions, organising trade shows, taking delegations to trade shows around the world, etc.

The Brazil Gems and Jewelry Program is a joint initiative between government and private entities, represented respectively by IBGM and Apex-Brasil. The program was developed to promote a significant increase in Brazilian exports of gemstones, jewellery and manufactured precious metals, integrating a variety of promotional events over short and medium terms. This Program currently supports around 160 companies. One can connect with the program at: www.projetosetorial.ibgm.com.br

The Brazilian Jewellery and Gems Trade Association (IBGM) is a national, private, non-profit organization founded in 1977, with headquarters in Brasília and a branch office in São Paulo. It represents the entire production chain of the gems and jewelry sector. One can connect with IBGM at: www.ibgm.com.br

Access some gemstone manufacturers promoted by IBGM: http://braminerals.com/en/fabricantes/

Brazil also imports gems and jewelry,because the international market requires that exporter countries like Brazil, commercialize not only national jewels, but also jewels from other countries.

For detailed information on ‘Importing Jewelry to Brazil’, please go to the following link: https://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/importing-jewelry-to-brazil

For information on ‘Sending samples and showcasing products in Brazil’, please visit the following link:

https://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/sending-samples-and-showcasing-products-in-brazil

 

Article Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291632359_The_gemstone_deposits_of_Brazil_Occurrences_production_and_economic_impact

https://gem-a.com/news-publications/news-blogs/journal-digests/journal/coloured-stones-from-brazil-past-present-and-future-2-3

https://www.mindat.org/loc-366.html

https://www.mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/Bilateral_brief_Latest__1_.pdf

https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/spring-2012-brazil-emerald-lucas

https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research-rise-of-the-brazilian-jewelry-industry

- By GemAtlas Team