Remember the Rainforest 1
The less abundant quality of stones, which lend themselves to cutting, is sold at three hundred and twenty cruzados per eighth; the best reach two hundred thousand cruzados. Exceptional, beautiful, sparkling stones pay twenty to thirty piastras. The most considerable portion of these gems is taken from here to Rio de Janeiro; the smallest portion goes to Bahia; and in both places over the next few years so many of them were gathered that the prices went down even more than in the mine itself. Like the topaz, so is the sapphire, which, after research by mineralogists on it, drew the attention of the miners to this stone. In general this species is rare, and indeed it appears more abundant in Capao Mine than in Lana.
From Lana, through narrow mountain gorges, we reach craggy cliffs and abrupt rock walls, in a place where the panorama suddenly became wide, revealing a maze of valleys and mountains. The Itacolumi, shadowed at the base by the blackness of the woods, and standing out from all the neighbors with its bare, rocky peak, dominates the entire region.
Itacolumi mountain, Minas Gerais
A wonderful alternation of light, from the most dazzling glare of the sun to the blackness of the darkest shadow, hung over the landscape, whose dark and grandiose features deserved to be translated by the brush of a Savior Rosa or C. Poussin. Nature seemed to solemnize this scene, with the gravity of silence, and our state of mind was excited in the face of the magnificent panorama. Over more and more abrupt hills, we climbed forward, and finally came to Trepui, a lively market, far from Vila Rica, a place where the troops coming from there were usually reorganized. Here we have also stopped in order to prepare to enter the village, and also to search for the stream that runs down the valley of the nearest hill, and which carries cinnabar in its waters.
In fact, we find small rounded cinnabar grains, mixed with many fragments of
titaniferous oxidized iron and even some octahedral crystals. After that, a march seemed in order, so we climbed by the last buttresses of the high Itacolumi, and there we enjoyed the unspeakable joy of first seeing in the foreground of the already longed for Vila Rica.
Vila Rica, Minas Gerais
Mr. von Eschwege, who, as chief engineer and director of the mines, has been employed here, and had previously been kind enough to reserve us accommodation at the Caberas Inn, right at the entrance of town, where we could immediately unload our own luggage Very happy, we rode down the hill and thus reached, a month after our departure from Ipanema, the capital of the land of Minas, on February 28, safe and sound.