Back in 1988, Haifa Mayor Aryeh Gurel attended the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s “dollars” event on a Sunday in Crown Heights, and was told by the Rebbe that the depth of the sea near Haifa “is suitable for precious stones and gems. … And God created a miracle and buried them deep inside the earth.” Abraham Taub, a Lubavitcher and the flounder of the exploration company Shefa Yamim, has been seeking those stones ever since.
On Wednesday, Shefa Yamim announced that a preliminary report issued by geologist Prof. William Griffin concludes that corundum stones discovered in several exploration sites in the Kishon River, near Haifa, contain a large variety of extraordinary minerals, as well as moissanite stone which require a deep in the ground crystallization environment with low oxygen, similar to the conditions that create diamonds and other precious stones.
Corundum is a rock-forming mineral that is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Moissanite is a rare gem, a naturally occurring silicon carbide, that has almost all of the qualities of a diamond.
William Griffin is a Professor of Geology at Macquarie University, Australia, and Program Director for Technology Development and Industry Interaction in the ARC National Key Center for Geochemical Evolution and Metallogeny of Continents (GEMOC). Over the past two years, Griffin has been examining corundum and moissanite stones sent to him from the Shefa Yamim discoveries. Last week, Griffin and his wife Professor Susan Urieli, were the guests of honor at the annual conference of the Israeli Geological Society in Eilat, and presented their findings.
One of the components that were identified in the examination was Tistarite (Ti2O3), which to date has only been identified in a single meteorite that arrived on earth from outer space. The Israeli discovery is the first case of this mineral developing deep underground.
Close to half of the components that were discovered inside the corundum stones are not known to science; the first and foremost among them is a Titanium-aluminum-zirconium compound known unofficially as TAZ. The company intends to apply to the Contact the International Mineralogical Association for an official recognition of the newly discovered natural mineral found inside the corundum stone, to be named ShefaTAZite. The entire collection of titanium-rich corundum stones will be dubbed Carmel Sapphire.
Two sample stones that were processed show a unique potential to be marketed as natural gems. Their value is not yet known, but the Shefa Yamim stock went up 7% Wednesday morning, following the issuing of the preliminary report.