Mineral Explorers

Mineral Explorers travels to some of the richest and most remote mines on earth, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to unearth gems, crystals and minerals of all kinds. Digging, dynamite, danger – it’s all in a day’s work for the miners whose livelihoods depend on these natural wonders.

Packed with travel and adventure, each 30-minute episode follows mineral expert Thomas Nagin as he travels to some of the richest and most remote mines on earth, taking viewers deep underground to experience a world of natural beauty and immense wealth.

Distributed by: The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)
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Thomas Nagin

Thomas Nagin

Mineral expert Thomas Nagin's travels to some of the most dangerous and remote places on the planet to unearth rare gems and stones. Thomas’ explorations and extensive contacts give him access to a world rarely seen by outsiders, allowing Mineral Explorers to tell the stories that surround these natural wonders.


Episode #101H · A journey into the jungles of eastern Bolivia takes us deep underground into the Anahi Mine, world renowned for its production of amethyst and ametrine. The adventure begins 400 miles away in the bustling city of Santa Cruz, followed by a scenic but harrowing trip by boat through the Pantanal wetlands to the mine. Then it's deep underground to discover the minerals and their myths. See how amethyst and ametrine are mined, watch their transformation from gems in the rough to gemstones, and experience the world's largest-known gem pocket. Minerals featured in this episode: Amethyst and Ametrine.


Episode #102H · Every day millions of dollars of emeralds are traded on the streets of Bogota, Colombia's thriving capital city, but few people ever venture to the source of these elusive gems. In this episode, Nagin leads us over treacherous mountain roads deep in the Andes Mountains to explore Colombia's gorgeous but rugged countryside, the lives of its people, and the amazing world of emeralds. Then, it's back to the big city to visit to the hustle of the world's largest emerald district. Minerals featured in this episode: Emeralds.


Episode #103H · It's one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, but quartz is anything but ordinary. Despite having worked with it for over 35 years, Nagin has several new experiences with this unique mineral. In this episode, he explores the metaphysical side of quartz and a local curiosity that's long been closed to the public, The Crystal Cave. Nagin meets a unique cast of characters while judging the World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig and visits the renowned Coleman's Mine to help extract a newly discovered pocket of quartz. Minerals featured in this episode: Quartz.

Brazil - The Center for Gemstones

Episode #104H · This journey takes us both above and below eastern Brazil as Nagin explores Governador Valadares, the center for minerals in Brazil, as well as one of the world's best places for paragliding. Famed for its gemstones, we see how Brazil's minerals are cut, polished, and prepared for market. Nagin travels to local mines to find gems in their natural, but equally beautiful form, visits the renowned Pederneira tourmaline mine, and an aquamarine mine where he explores a newly found gem pocket as it's being uncovered. Minerals featured in this episode: Aquamarine and Tourmaline.

Brazil - The Estrada Real

Episode #105H · This episode finds Nagin traveling the famed Estrada Real, or "Royal Road," exploring Brazil's rich diamond and gold history. En route he also discovers the odd formations at Chapada Diamantina National Park and the highly-coveted imperial topaz, found exclusively in Brazil. Along the way, we meet the "Laser Cowboys" who dig for long, beautiful laser quartz crystals, and one of Brazil's best-known mineral collectors who invites Nagin to view his extensive, private collection. Minerals featured in this episode: Diamonds, Quartz, Imperial Topaz.


Episode #106H · It's the world's largest producer of silver with modern companies ruling the trade but Mexico's silver mining tradition dates back hundreds of years and helped shape the country we know today - a country alive with history and culture. Thomas visits several colonial towns built from the riches of silver mines and explores the ancient craft of silversmithing. Along the way, he finds a great lot of crystallized Mexican minerals but his biggest prize is the opportunity to journey deep inside the world's largest primary silver mine. Minerals featured in this episode: Silver.

Peru: Mundo Nuevo

Episode #201H · Thomas embarks on what some may call a fool's errand, in search of Pyrite-- more commonly known as fool's gold. From the busy mineral markets of Lima, to the ancient ruins of Chan Chan, Thomas is on a journey to the high altitude mine of Mundo Nuevo. At nearly 15,000 feet, the search for this shining treasure brings with it the beauty of the Andes and the history of lost civilizations.