A mysterious pink stone born in a coal mine


English English French French

Photo: © David Fraga.

At the GemGenève show, last May, the jeweller Valais Grégoire Maret presented a stone that only exists in one place in the world; a pink gem baptised calcite cobaltifère. It was discovered in an abandoned coal mine in the canton of Valais, today inaccessible. He made a pendant. But the most interesting thing about this story is its story. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.

Imagine two crystalline friends who, who since their childhood, trudged in the Valais mines abandoned since 1943 in the region of Isérable. They sneak into casings barely wider than them, slip between the support beams. And one day, they discover drips of a very intense pink, stalactite and patterns in draperies, that contrast with the black coal. The first time they took that stone out of the mine was in the early 1990. The gem was analyzed by the Lausanne laboratory in 1995 and has been described as being calcite cobaltifère, a new Swiss gem that owes its color to the infiltration of calcareous water laden with cobalt in the mine.

Imagine Grégoire Maret, a young jeweller graduated from L'Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux, passionate about the history of his country, Valais, and his Celtic roots. He creates jewels like talismans, inspired by ancient symbols, and gives them power, in any case, to make dream the one who wears them. When these two crystal-hunting friends tell him about their discovery, it's the imagination of the jeweller which is getting carried away. With a cut gem, he created a pendant, a unique piece.

On his stand, during the GemGenève showGrégoire Maret was an outsider with his talisman jewellery and pink stone. At first glance, we did not pay attention. At second glance, we stopped in front of the cartel describing the origin of the stone. In the third, we dipped our eyes in the gem, so strange, so full of colour, so powerful by its uniqueness. A visitor of the show has also bought his ticket, simply to have the opportunity to discover this stone. And he left, without a glance for emeralds, tourmalines paraibathe diamonds sparkling with all their fires around.

"We will not dismantle the aesthetic drips, we will only use the remaining pieces," explains Grégoire Maret. The mines are no longer accessible: there have been major collapses. I went there three times. It was necessary to crawl three hours to reach the zone. It is thanks to the man that this stone exists because if he had not dug these mines, they would not have been infiltrated and one would not have discovered these drips and these stalactites of an intense poetry. It's spectacular! So, the friend who found it named it "Rose de mine": A rose in memory of all the miners who worked in these guts and who sometimes never came back. "

This stone will not be accessible in the future. "Going to these mines today is at your own risk. "

The calcite cobaltifère in possession of  Grégoire Maret became a pendant, like a crescent moon or a point of the Gravette, these projectile points of the Upper Paleolithic. He gave it an equally symbolic name: "l'inattendu".

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

STORIES - The Ondine: photograph of Aimee Hoving.STORIES - Detail of Grief, Brian Clarke: The Art of Light at Sainsbury Center, organized in association with HENI. Photo © Matthias Kirchberger.