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New ‘Holy Gems’ Collection Showcases Stones Mined in Israel

March 2022

Parent company Shefa In Israel Ltd. holds the country’s only permits and licenses for the exploration and mining of gems.

Netanya, Israel—A new jewelry collection has launched to showcase and market the colored gemstones now being mined in Israel.

According to Tali Shalem, CEO of Shefa In Israel Ltd., the journey has been some time in the making.

In the late 1980s, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century, told the then-mayor of Haifa, Israel that there were precious stones in northern Israel yet to be uncovered.

Abraham (Avi) Taub, who started his career in the diamond industry in the 1960s at his father’s diamond polishing company, eventually learned about Schneerson’s proclamation and decided to act on it.

He established Shefa in Israel Ltd. in 1998 to begin exploration and mining.

Taub died from cancer in late 2019. Five months later, in March 2020, Shefa received an official discovery certificate from the supervisor of mines in the State of Israel for its first economic mine of precious gemstones.

Shefa now holds exclusive exploration permits for approximately 470,000 dunams (or about 116,140 acres) in northern Israel. Its focus is on two projects—Mount Carmel, with several potential primary deposits, and the Kishon Reach, an alluvial deposit.

The company said it is the sole holder of permits and licenses for precious gems exploration and mining in Israel.
Found gemstones include diamond, natural moissanite, sapphire—including new material they have dubbed “Carmel sapphire”—ruby, garnet, hibonite, spinel, ilmenite, zircon, and rutile.

Carmel sapphire is a corundum that has inclusions of a new mineral called carmeltazite, discovered in 2014 by Shefa and named the International Mineralogical Association’s 2018 Mineral of the Year. So far it has only been found on Mount Carmel in Israel.

Overall production numbers have been small so far, Shefa said, including fewer than 100 carats of sapphire, approximately 200 carats of spinel, fewer than 200 carats of garnet, and fewer than 200 carats of Carmel sapphire.

But Shalem said they believe there are millions of carats in their licensing area.

To showcase and market these Israel-mined gemstones, the company has launched a jewelry collection called Holy Gems.

The inaugural Holy Gems jewelry collection, created from the first commercial gems found in the Kishon mine, features 101 one-of-a-kind, numbered, high-end pieces.

Its classic designs from Michaella Taub were inspired by Bible verses about Israel to connect the designs to the story behind and uniqueness of the stones, the company said.
All the collection’s gems were sourced in Israel, except for the diamonds—Shefa has found diamonds, but not yet in great enough numbers for commercial use—and set in 18-karat gold.

The one-of-a-kind pieces in the collection are priced starting at $20,000. They are sold online at Holy-Gems.com or at the company’s showroom in Akko, Israel. 

The Holy Gems secondary collection, named Holy Gems Sacred Love, will be a more commercial line, including minimalistic fine jewels inlaid with red garnet from Israel. Prices will start in the $2,500 to $5,000 range. 

Though there may be some collaborations in the future, Shalem said Holy Gems has exclusive use of the gemstones, which will always be associated with the brand. 

Shefa has complete control of the stones through the supply chain, from mining to cutting via subcontractors to marketing them under Holy Gems. 

Shalem also noted the company has no plans to make loose stones available via wholesale.