Gemstone lures traders

During a hot sunny day, the colours stand out from the gemstone at Vaturomulo Village. Picture TAITO VUGAKOTO

A GEMSTONE recently found in Cakaudrove has generated interest at local and international levels.

Though the Department of Mineral Resources have preferred not to comment on the matter as it was posted on social media, the gemstone has lured local businessmen and officials of mining companies to the village and offered a price as high as $1 million.

Interested buyers living overseas have also contacted Taito Vugakoto — who found the stone at Vaturomulo Village — offering their various prices.

The stone, believed to be a rainbow gemstone, was found by Mr Vugakoto in the shallow waters of the village river one afternoon after returning from his plantation.

This newspaper also contacted gemstone dealers and specialists in Delhi, India, who confirmed after seeing pictures of gemstones emailed, that the stone was genuine.

Ravi Shankar of Pearl India International Inc, stated in his email: “Yes, all the stones are genuine natural gemstones except dichroic glass (which is the crystal-like area of the stone).”

Another company, Ankit Gems and Arts responded via email stating that the stone was not a rainbow moonstone.

“We would like to ask you for a detailed video of this piece, so that we can tell you properly which stone it is. But it is not rainbow moonstone.”

Mineral Resources Department acting director Apete Soro said Government was not obligated to respond or comment on issues raised on social media.

Mr Soro said whoever wanted to clarify the identity of the stones from the ministry would need to write formally and produce the evidence as due process.

A village elder, Sireli Tuinabavatu said this was not the first time for such a stone to be found in Vaturomulo.

“During the time of our forefathers, a similar stone was found but in the forest while they were out hunting for wild pigs,” he said.

“So they decided to keep the stone there and return the day after top dig it out. But when they returned, the stone had disappeared.”

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