Reaching rondonia’s mining fields
After several hours of driving through the jungle, Stefan reached a mining operation for gemstones. It was an arduous drive. Mining operations in this part of Rondonia are in remote locations and fairly traditional in their operations to this day. “Getting heavy machinery and other equipment to the mine is extraordinarily difficult. And these difficulties start with the question on how to get them across the river Rio Negro,” Stefan Kreis explains.
Tugged away in small valleys, these mines are barely to see from the road. It is a thick “veil” of vegetation that surprisingly, and suddenly unveils its hidden treasure. “It is only on the last couple of meters that you see the mine. You turn around a corner and all of the sudden, there it is. Without the slightest hint, you will find yourself in the middle of it all,” reports Stefan Kreis.
Because the trip to the mine is so time-consuming and physically demanding, people live and work in the mine for a given timeframe. For this purpose, they erected wooden structures with hammocks. “The houses are built in a way that a slight breeze can come through. To help themselves against mosquitos during the night, they let the outer skin of a coconut glimmer in a bowl. It is surprisingly effective,” tells Stefan Kreis.
Familiarity in rondonia
But this was not the most astounding observation. “The first time I visited this mine, the thing that stood out to me was the way in which people trusted each other. You see, in our business, dealing with valuable gemstones, trust is of utmost importance. And most of these mines are owned and operated by small families. Usually, the miners and workers have grown up around this part of Rondonia. They have known each other for many years. They know the parents and grandparents of each and everybody. It is a small world in and of itself. It stood out to me because it is the same way we go about in our family business. It was a shared mindset through which we [the miners and I] bonded quickly,” says Stefan Kreis.
Making these trips is essential to establish a relationship based on mutual respect. “We also want to learn about their country and and how they go about finding gemstones,” states Alexander Kreis, one of the certified Gemmeologists at Kreis. He continues, “learning more about their mine during a conversation easy. Through our shared passion for gemstones, we will quickly talk about the gems they are mining, and how they go about it. We might be talking about the geographical and geological particularities of the area, how they influence the creation of the gems and exchange our experience in an effort to learn from each other.”
[The mine in Rondonia – Picture by KREIS]
[Stefan Kreis in a wooden hut holding a rough gemstone – Picture by KREIS]
[A picture of a promising place for further mining – Picture by KREIS]