Friday, 26 May 2017

Pietersite - Only in Namibia

Raw pietersite stones, mined in Erongo region, Namibia

Like all of us mining at Ûiba Ôas, pietersite is a Namibian native – you won’t find it anywhere else. This beautiful stone is another kind of quartz, but unlike our amethysts, rose quartzes and smoky quartzes, it features many shades of two distinct colours, swirling together. Deep, rich blue and indigo shades contrast with the shining ambers and tawny gold typical of tiger’s eye. Gemologists often call pietersite a blend of tiger’s eye and hawk’s eye, in fact; a striking combination indeed!

A polished pietersite pendant

Unlike our smoky quartzes and amethysts, which often show their six-sided crystal structure, pietersite’s crystals are microscopic, hidden within its mesmerizing glow. The stone polishes beautifully, revealing the strong chatoyancy – bright, reflective lustre – that is a product of the tiny rock fibres of the crystals. The tale of pietersite’s emergence on global gem markets is that Sid Pieters, a Namibian farmer and geologist, observed its unique characteristics while prospecting on a ranch in the early 1960s. He gave the stone its name – perhaps in honour of his father – and is said to have registered it with a mineral registry in the United Kingdom.

Dramatic pietersite contrasts with the granite in which it often forms.

Its relatively recent identification as an unique mineral, and its scarcity, have led to some euphoric descriptions of this luminous, unusual stone. Various enthusiasts claim pietersite has an energy that is almost tangible, and a lightning-like psychic-cleansing ability; that it offers powerful protection from physical and emotional storms; that it enhances inner vision and intuition; that it aids relaxation and recovery from addiction... and more. We can’t guarantee this stone will do all that its supporters claim, but we are confident that you, too, will find it beautiful in its reflections of the wonders of nature’s grace.

Only in Namibia:  pietersite.

Some see lightning in the brilliance of polished pietersite.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


In August 2015, Namibia's Social Security Commission officially handed over the stone-finishing workshop they funded at our crystals market to the small-scale miners and merchants of the Ûiba Ôas Cooperative.  We are delighted to have this facility, which allows us to add value to our raw stones and crystals by cutting and polishing them at our site.

Diana Maletzky, miner, merchant and chairperson of the Ûiba Ôas Cooperative
As part of the ceremony, our chairperson offered a speech in which she said: "I am pleased to greet you, and to welcome you all in the name of rural development.  I may confess, though, that most days I myself, like so many of my brothers and sisters here, I would rather be out there, in the field, prospecting and mining.  This is the work I know well, and love.

"My grandmother was a miner.  For many decades, she worked with a hammer and chisel on and around Spitzkoppe, bringing beautiful gems and crystals from the rocks and the earth.  I think of her often as I work, carrying on this tradition of our people.

"I think of her, too, and a hundred years of small-scale miners, when I stand in the stalls here and greet tourists who ask, Is it really Mother Nature who is doing this?  Even without cutting, or polishing, our stones are beautiful.  Of course, we are all accustomed to the many beauties of our Namibia.  But ladies and gentlemen, for we who stand in this wonderful market, sharing what nature has to show with people from Windhoek, from the north, from many parts of Africa, and from Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific --  our work is an honor, and a joy."

We are happy to share some of the joy of that day, our home in the Erongo region at the edge of the Namib desert, and our work amongst nature's beauty, with you in a traditional song and dance of our Damara people.  Please enjoy!

Friday, 24 June 2016


Is it ironic that here on the edge of the Namib desert the most valuable stone we find near our Ûiba Ôas Crystals Market is the aquamarine?  Aquamarines, like emeralds and dioptase, are beryls, and are distinguished by their beautiful sea-blue color.  Like the sea, they can enchant you.

This sizeable aquamarine was a great find for a hard-working miner.

Legend has it that aquamarines can calm rough waves and keep sailors safe.  As lovely as they are, we don't recommend relying on them for that!

They contrast beautifully with locally-mined black tourmaline.

The excitement we feel on discovering an aquamarine out at the site is great.  We hope you'll feel something similar when you discover these mystical gems at our market.

A great rock specimen for a collector - experienced or just beginning.

Our Aqua Stars soccer team is named for our most precious stone!  They would love to meet you at our market - and maybe share a few passes.

Thanks to Kickin' Back for their support of the Aqua Stars.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Damara Culture

We love to talk about our Damara culture!  Feel free to ask about our dress, our songs and dances, our favorite foods and our traditions.  If you need help with pronounciation in Damara, we'd love to assist.

"Ûiba Ôas" is pronounced 'ooy-bah oh-aas'; our market's name means 'seeking a livelihood' or 'looking for a living'.

Women wear the scarves you see on the singers below in part because they can still carry bundles on their heads with this style of headwear.

We love celebrations!

A good way to get an excited conversation going is to ask about our traditional meals.  Have you ever tried donkey meat?  How about pap - polenta made with white corn meal?

And we're always pleased to tell you about the treasures we -- and our parents and grandparents -- discover on and around Klein Spitzkoppe mountain, which is part of the view from our market.  It's beautiful here; the landscape, the stones for sale, and the people sharing them with you.  We look forward to meeting you!

Aquamarines - almost as clear as water.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

For Collectors

The rocky terrain of Erongo offers beautiful mineral specimens, and the people of Ûiba Ôas are also able to source samples from colleagues throughout Namibia.  Come see what we have to share with you!


Amethyst in calcite

large rose quartz and gypsum

sceptre quartz

A mixed selection

Two amethyst quartzes

There's much more at the market!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Carry Namibia

Carry Namibia home with you, dangling close to your heart.

Rose quartz is a stone of love and comfort; polished and set for you.

Nature provides stones in many other colors as well.

You'll find them in many different settings at Ûiba Ôas Crystals Market.

If a strand of African beads is more your style, they're available.

When the sunshine of home catches a slice of agate, you'll remember
the sunshine of Namibia.

Not all quartzes are sized for wearing,
but all of us at Ûiba Ôas look forward to your visit.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


It is amazing to live here in Namibia's Erongo region and see every day what Mother Nature can do.

Amethyst is the rarest of the quartz crystals.  Ancient Greeks believed it protected against drunkeness; that's how it got its name - 'mythestos' means 'intoxicated', and the 'a' negates that, so 'not intoxicated'!  The crystals form as six-sided prisms like the one above.  However, since they often form in clusters, you don't often see the prism this clearly.

Garnets are named from the Latin word 'granum' (seed), which is also the root for the word 'pomegranate.'  In English, the word 'garnet' has come to mean both the crystal you see above and the deep red color of a pomegranate seed.  Garnet crystals can come in every hue in the color spectrum, including black and clear, but are most often some shade of red.  An antique-jewelry dealer in Paris once told this writer that they help to promote solitude.  Healers who work with crystals may tell you they help provide comfort or inspiration in times of solitude.

Aquamarines surrounded by black tourmaline

Aquamarines are the rarest of the semi-precious crystals we mine in the Erongo region, and therefore the highest-priced.  They are a form of beryl, which means they are cousins of emeralds.  Their color, the source of their name, ranges from almost colorless to a quite deep blue, with the most frequent being the beautiful pale blue-green of the sea for which they are named.