Tours and Activities:
Wanda MinesMarcelo SolaPablo Etchevers
The famous Wanda Mines lie 40 kilometers away from Puerto Iguazú, at a gemstone site containing quartz crystals, amethysts, agates and topazes, to name a few varieties.
To reach this district -named after a Polish princess who loved gemstones– we had to travel along National Route 12 up to the village. Resting on the plentiful Paraná River, it lets visitors appreciate this singular attraction in the open air. Referred to as “open pit mine”, this is a deposit where the minerals are found near the surface.
We were welcomed by a local guide, who led us around the entire corridor where the gemstones are found as he told us about their origin and chemical composition.
“In 1976, the first layer of gemstones was discovered in Wanda”, the guide explained. It seems that the base on which the Province of Misiones lies was formed during Cenozoic Era, about a hundred and fifty million years ago, and it went through several instances of lava coming from the core of the earth. When the lava got cold, the gas bubbles were trapped and gave shape to the basalt, which is the mother rock that gives origin to the local gemstones.
As we moved around the venue, we were amazed at the various colors and shapes of the stones we came across. Thus, we watched gems with hexagonal and bipyramidal prisms and octahedrons. Varied stones, especially amethysts, which feature a violitsh color, have been found at the Wanda Mines. Likewise, topazes, agates, jaspers and rock crystals are common in the area.
After touring around the site, we were invited to visit the exhibition and sales room, where the gemstones are transformed in order to be used in jewelry.
Our visit to the famous Wanda Mines was over. We could behold the extraordinary work nature did millions of years ago when it gave shape to the treasures turned into shining handicrafts that travel all round the world today.