Monkey Mountain gets facility to refine semi-precious stones, gems


A $10 million lapidary at Monkey Mountain, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) will be commissioned on Friday, November 1, 2019.

The facility will cater specifically for the engraving, cutting, or polishing of semi-precious stones and gems found in the hinterland. It will have a workshop, exhibit area, washrooms and a security area.

Marcelle Yhip, local Geologist and Lapidary Technician, said the project is an exciting one.

Yhip, who has been in the field for 34 years, has been identified as the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs’ key resource person and consultant for the project.

Yhip noted that talks to have the lapidary established began after it was revealed that the community of Monkey Mountain is blessed with an abundance of semi-precious stones of excellent quality. She said these stones can be found mostly in the mountains.

“There is jasper and jasper comes in about 15 colours, they are all opaque and you have red jasper, chocolate jasper, cream jasper, green jasper… many variations jasper with spots, without spots, you have quartz crystals, smokey quartz crystals, milky white quartz (ideal for carving) and we also suspect based on all indications that we might have amethyst in Monkey Mountain.”

Several young men and women from the region have been trained in Brazil to work as technicians in the lapidary. “They have attended SENAI a Brazilian technical institution where they taught faceting, this involves the cutting of the stones. Ten persons have been selected and trained and some of those 10 had prior training in the geological aspect like the identification of the raw material at the site so they will be able to identify the stones. What features comprise a good quality stone and which are defective and so on,” Yhip explained.

While the lapidary is located in Monkey Mountain, four other villages namely Kato, Kurukubaru, Maikwak and Tuseneng will also be providing semi-precious stones to the facility.

Among them are crystals, amethyst, jasper and agate gemstones. Once retrieved and taken to the factory, several unique pieces including jewellery, ornaments and exotic furniture pieces will be created which will add value to the product. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]