08/19/2020

There’s a New Peridot Mine in the Changbai Mountains

Fuli Gemstones will not only mine the peridot deposit in China but also process, sort, grade and cut it.


New York—In the northeastern region of China called Jilin, by the border with North Korea, there’s a new mine producing vivid, grass-green peridot.

Gemstones have been sourced in the area since the middle of the 20th century, but newcomer Fuli Gemstones decided a few years back to look for the primary deposit.

Fuli was founded in 2015. Just a year later, on the eve of the Chinese New Year, the company found the primary deposit and instantly realized what it had, Chief Marketing Officer Pia Tonna told National Jeweler in a recent interview.

The Yiqisong Nanshan mine, in which Fuli now has a controlling share, is the largest peridot deposit in the world, the company claims.

It’s located in Dunhua, Jilin Province near the Changbai Mountains, and produces rich, clean, grass-green peridot gemstones that Fuli said require no treatment.

The company has yet to start bulk production but retrieved enough samples during the geological survey that it’s able to start showing production to potential clients and designers.

While Tonna declined to share projected production numbers, she did say Fuli will be able to provide a “steady supply” of stones once it begins mining, including some large specimens.

A 301-carat rough peridot was recently recovered from the site.

Fuli also has a cutting facility near the mine with about 20 cutters, according to Tonna, and has developed cuts with more than 110 facets to take advantage of peridot’s high refractivity.

While Fuli is vertically integrated to ensure the quality and consistency of cutting as well as the flow of its rough, the company also is open to partnering with select cutters to create one-of-a-kind stones.

“We want people to innovate with them, really push outside the box,” Tonna said.

Fuli has not yet started bulk sampling but gathered material during a geological survey.

Fuli recovered several specimens weighing above 100 carats, including one weighing 301 carats.

A piece of Fuli peridot rough weighing 15.59 carats (about 3.12 grams)

This one weighs 14.49 carats (about 2.90 grams).

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A shot from inside the Yiqisong Nanshan tunnel mine in Jilin

Olivine as seen inside the mine


Once it’s safe to hold large gatherings again, the company plans to take part in various trade shows to promote the material.

In the meantime, it is lining up small collaborations with designers, including London-based Zeemou Zeng and Liv Luttrell.

Fuli also recently signed a three-year deal to sponsor The Jewellery Cut Live, a boutique two-day showcase event in London.

The Jewellery Cut Live usually takes place at the same time as London Fashion Week, but this fall has been pushed back to Oct. 11 and 12 due to COVID-19.

It will showcase the work of more than 20 independent jewelry designers to store buyers, press, industry insiders and consumers, who can shop at the event.

The partnership makes Fuli a headline sponsor of the event, meaning The Jewellery Cut Live now will be co-branded with the mining company.

Fuli also will use it to showcase loose peridot gems and specially commissioned pieces of jewelry.

As part of the jewelry lecture series at the event, the miner will lead a talk to educate attendees about the gem.

A 9.06-carat peridot from the Yiqisong Nanshan mine

A 4.07-carat stone

This peridot gemstone from the mine weighs 4.40 carats.

A 5.03-carat peridot

Fuli also has a cutting facility near the mine where it takes material after its been processed, graded and sorted.

20200817_Cutting_2-8459-1000-1000-100.jpgAbout 20 cutters will work in its facility, though the company also will partner with independent cutters for one-of-a-kind stones.

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Fuli collaborated with designer Liv Luttrell on this ring, featuring a 3.94-carat Fuli Gemstones peridot in 18-karat gold.

In addition, Tonna said Fuli wants to build a peridot museum and education center, likely in the town near the mine, within the next two years.

The area is already well-known to travelers, as many visit the Changbai Mountains for their beauty and Buddhist sites such as the 157-foot high Jinding Buddha statue and the nearby Zhengjue Temple, the world’s largest nun monastery.

The mountain range also is home to the UNESCO-named Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve to protect wildlife and more than 1,800 types of vascular plants.

Because of the history and importance of the area, Tonna said Fuli has been working closely with the government to protect the site and reduce its footprint as well as environmental experts to find uses for the waste coming from the tunnel mine, such as the olivine.

In the future, Tonna said Fuli wants to expand into other mining projects.

She said the company is currently looking into a few but declined to provide specifics.



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