The Israeli mining company Shefa Yamim has unearthed a new gem material in the northern Israel that has properties similar in structure to sapphire and ruby. The rare mineral, called Carmeltazite, has been trademarked and will be marketed as “Carmel Sapphire,” and is expected to become one of the world’s most expensive gemstones.
The new stone has been named after Mount Carmel, the mountain where it was found and resembles another rare extraterrestrial mineral named Allendeite, found after the Allende meteorite struck in 1969.
Carmeltazite is a significant geological discovery. The mineral contains three metals: titanium, aluminum, and zirconium, and it resembles other popular gemstones used in the jewelry industry. The stone has a higher density than diamond, giving it high commercial value.
The miners believe Carmeltazite formed close to where the Earth’s crust meets the mantle, at approximately 18 miles below the surface. High pressure and intense heat there partially melts rocks and they then release fluid, which can cause chemical reactions that form new minerals. These materials may be quickly expelled by way of volcanic activity, and along with other minerals they form gemstone deposits once they reach the surface.
The Zevulun Valley, where Carmeltazite has been discovered, was an area known to have high volcanic activity during the Cretaceous era, about 65 million years ago. There are at least 14 different volcanic vents in the region, making it a promising area for the discovery of new gemstones. Carmeltazite is found inside cracks and fissures of deposits of corundum, a mineral similar to sapphire. The new stone is black to blue-green or orange-brown in color and has a metallic luster. The largest Carmeltazite found so far weighs 33.3 carats, and it has attracted international attention for its novelty and rarity. Carmeltazite, a gemstone once thought to be of extraterrestrial origin, could soon be worth more than diamond.