Northern areas of Pakistan: Hot bed of precious gemstones and Minerals


Adventurers and trekkers from world over can hardly resist the qualms of venturing in the unspoiled and rugged territories of Northern Pakistan, primarily for the breathtaking sights and to witness the highest mountain ranges in the world up close and personal.

Many however, remain oblivious of the fact that these mountain ranges are also home of some of the precious gems and stones in the world.

The geological change that occurred some 50-million years ago, creating these massive mountain ranges, is also known to be the primary reason why these places are rich in gemstones. Various rock formations and minerals were subjected to several thousand tons of pressure originating from the movement of tectonic plates, thereby reducing these rocks to gemstones and rare compounds.


Some of these rare precious stones, extensively used in jeweler industry includes Peridot, Aquamarine, Topaz (various colors: violet and pink, golden and champagne), Ruby, Emerald, rare-earth minerals Bastnaesite and Xenotime, Sphene, Tourmaline, and many varieties and types of Quartz.

Government’s negligence in the promotion and excavation of these gems forced the local populace to search for these precious gems on their own, resulting in what could be effectively termed as the “San Francisco Gold Rush” of Pakistan.

Ill-equipped and oblivious of the mining techniques, these people used explosives to initiate diggings and blasting and distributing the costs that may incur during the mining period.

Eventually realizing the importance of the hidden wealth right under its nose, Gemstones Corporation of Pakistan was established in 1979 to effectively explore Pakistan’s own share of wealth in minerals and to facilitate gemstone mining and business in Pakistan.

The GCP was dissolved in 1997 in wake of administrative hiccups and corruption and the task was later assigned to Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (formerly Export Promotion Bureau) and All Pakistan Commercial Exporters.


Since 1994, the annual Pakistan Gems and Mineral Show has been held in Peshawar with their joint collaboration, during four days in October. It has not as yet, however, attracted any potential buyers from abroad. Its few stalls on display cannot fulfill any of the requisite needs of experienced buyers from abroad, especially the USA and Europe. 

Mining Areas

The few potential/major gemstone mining areas in Pakistan are: (only major gemstones yielded are mentioned)

Northwest Frontier Province

Swat (Malakand division) – Emerald, various types of quartz, and epidote

Dir (Malakand division) – Corundum and quartz

Mansehra (Hazara division) – Corundum and smoky quartz

Kohistan (Hazara division) – Peridot

Peshawar district (Frontier province) – Quartz with astrophyllite/reibeckite fiber inclusions, xenotime, and bastnaesite.


Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Mohmand Agency – Emerald, clinozoisite, sphene, and epidote

Bajaur Agency – Emerald, garnet, and orange-colour scapolite

Khyber Agency – Quartz with astrophyllite/reibeckite fibers inclusions, xenotime, and bastnaesite

North and South Waziristan Agencies – Faden quartz, diamond quartz, phantom quartz, chlorite-included quartz, and window quartz

Northern Areas

Chilas (Diamer district) – Alluvial diopside, zircon, rutile quartz, aquamarine, and tourmaline

Gilgi , Hunza, and Shigar (Gilgit district) – Aquamarine, topaz (golden and white), emerald (new find), ruby, pollucite, rutile quartz, morganite, apatite, spinel, and pargasite

Shengus, Stak Nala, and Tormiq Nala (Baltistan Skardu Road, Baltistan district) – Aquamarine, topaz, tourmaline, apatite, sphene, morganite, and quartz

Shigar Proper (near Skardu, Baltistan district) – Apatite, zoisite, rutile quartz, epidote, and morganite

Childee, Kashmal, and Yuno (Shigar area, near Skardu, Baltistan district) – Aquamarine, emerald-colour tourmaline, apatite, morganite, topaz, and quartz

Hyderabad, Testun, Dassu, Net Tahirabad, and Goyungo (Shigar area, Baltistan district) – Topaz (best golden colour here), aquamarine, tourmaline, morganite, rare earth minerals, apatite, quartz, and new find emerald

Appu Aligund, Fuljo, Braldu, Bashu, and Karma (Baltistan district) – Tourmaline, aquamarine, garnets,diopside, ruby, pargasite, emerald, topaz, amethyst, scheelite, and quartz

Khappalu and near Siachin area (Gaanshai area, Baltistan district) – Aquamarine, amethyst, and fine golden rutile quartz


Baluchistan Province

Kharan district – Brookite, anatase, and quartz

Chaman (near Quetta) – Diamond quartz, window quartz, quartz on prehnite-base, and faden quartz included by chlorite



Trade Development Authority of Pakistan:

See also:

A Letter from Pakistan: True adventure from Pala International’s daring suppliers

Pakistan: 2006 – A Year in Review

Pakistan Update – 8/15/07

15 thoughts on “Northern areas of Pakistan: Hot bed of precious gemstones and Minerals

  1. I have some dzi beads and other things I thing buy it I m balochistan Contact No wats up 03458162687

  2. Pakistan northern frontier’s underground wealth is estimated to exceed 600 billion dollars conservatively speaking. However, there are hardly any institutions, entities, or creative thinkers in entire Pakistan who could come up with a practical solutions of how to monetize these resources and undertake the advanced technology to exploit them. Someone with a practical approach and knowledge of finding international funding to undertake this ambitious project can make it happen but the biggest elephant in the room is… Pakistani Corruption! If this elephant can be handled with proper care to control it then it’s perhaps possible! …a big IF!

  3. I am interested to know about the Gem & Mineral show in Pakistan where & when also more about north west mountains & Gems

    1. Nothern Areas of Pakistan have the largest concentration of worlds highest mountains in the world in a short area of about 100 sq kms. Besides, it also has a UNIQUE POINT where four major mountain series meet. This junction is short of Gilgit. Areas ahead of Gilgit are devoid trees but have beautiful peaks all around. Its a place worth seeing and enjoying.

    2. Hi m SB khan from narth pk Hunza if anybody wants to bey ani kind of mineral gemstone wisit us directly we at miners.

      1. I am interested to purchasing precious stones; mainly rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Please send me pictures and and details of whatever inventory you currently have. I prefer rough/uncut stones but I am interested in finished stones as well.

      2. I am interested to purchasing precious stones; mainly rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Please send me pictures and and details of whatever inventory you currently have. I prefer rough/uncut stones.

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