Dogs finding Beryl and other minerals

Many curious and exciting facts can be said about gemstones and crystals. Mineralogists and gemmologists, and people that handles, crafts, explores or trades with jewels in general or in particular, as in any other discipline or trade that consume human attention for centuries, can tell many fascinating stories about their line of work. In addition, things that are bejewelled with splendour and worth as precious stones are, that are a playground for human vanity, envy and greed, are bound to be a cause of many “believe it or not” stories and anecdotes, some based on true facts, some questionable, but maybe true. This segment of RubyCharm gemstones journal and blog is dedicated to those unusual stories and urban legends that are following every human interest.

It is well known that “dogs are man’s best friend”, dog people will always confirm to that truth. (Small digression – this reminded me of a citation I have read some time ago in a book! This is an interpretation as I was not able to find it again, but it seems to me that it was Charles de Gaule that said it: “If dogs would learn to speak, we would lose our best friend”.) Dogs are used for camaraderie, for play, as guard dogs, for sports, in hunts, for racing, in sledge harness, to find drugs, and even to find very valuable mushrooms – truffles… But some dogs are used to find minerals!

First known canine mineral finder was Gilda. By biologist G.A.Vasiliev from Mineralogy museum of Academy of science conducted an experiment and proved that Gilda was taught to faultlessly find and pick all stones that belonged to the Beryl type. Gilda found on Museum premises Aquamarine, Phenakite, Vorobievit… all minerals holding element beryllium. It was acknowledged that she manifested most enthusiasm in face of a large Emerald cluster (also Beryl family). It is obvious that Gilda besides her nose had some taste too.

After that, there were not many more recognized cases of “dog gold diggers”. Some dogs were used to find copper ore, and they proved to be quite efficient in that mining department too.

I am quite confident that you are looking at your dog now, and thinking: “Maybe I can teach him to find gold.”

Well, if you are thinking that, it seems you were not the first person to have that thought. Who would have said, eh? Anyhow, it seems that some Swedish geologist taught his canine friend, a German shepherd called Rex to search for diamonds and gold ore. And he is even doing that for a living, imagine that. So if you are flanked in between jobs, and some time to spare, a dog and a mountain nearby, you should try it. Maybe your dog was the way to your fortune all along.

Article by Adolphine Bernstein, gemmologist, RubyCharm author


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