“We have over 10,000 rivers in Nepal, with the collective power to generate enough hydro-power for the whole of Nepal and then some- but we don’t have the power stations built to harness it, so we continue to import electricity from India!”
We are sitting in a small shop in Thamel, Kathmandu, glass cabinets of gem stones and jewelry glinting up at us from under the fluorescent light. Jeweler, Mr Nabin Giri is gesturing wildly, passionately explaining the various ways in which we could boost in-country industry but simply exploiting our natural resources. Somehow, this subject leads on to his main passion; Nepali Gemstones.
“I love to work with all Nepalese stones. You know, ten years ago Nepali gemstones were not well known or even regarded,” he says, pulling a small tray of glistening rocks onto the top of the glass counter. “Now, we are starting to see more and more Nepali stones sold here, rather than selling imported stones, it’s a good thing.”
He deftly flips one of the stones in the dish, sending the light shining through it’s sky blue, near transparent center. He tells us this stone, Aquamarine, is his favouite; the King of Semi-precious stones.
“Each stone has an energy, a reaction with it’s environment,” Mr Giri explains, his gestures again getting bigger. “They are a medium to help us channel energy. Sometimes they can be good, sometimes bad. Crystals are used to help channel good energy while meditating, yellow sapphires help channel energy from Jupiter and Opal,” he blushes, “helps increase sexual desire.”
“I’m always experiencing the stones,” he says, sweeping a hand over the glittering rocks adorning his fingers (ruby and yellow sapphire), “Sometimes you need to just try it out, put the stone below your pillow and see if you have good or bad dreams from it, then you can tell if this is the stone for you.”
“I believe in seeing Nepali stones sold here in Nepal, as well as internationally, but first we need to support it on our home soil,” his expressions becoming suddenly subdued. “Even within these streets [Thamel], I believe there are only two jewelry shops run by Nepali.”
Mr Giri explained that mining permits can be difficult to secure, causing many jewelers to turn to imported stones. If only this natural resource, though finite, could be better accessed, perhaps the mining and gemstone industry could thrive within Nepal.