Antonio Pereira, north of Ouro Preto.
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|1702||founded by an emancipated slave.|
Antonio Pereira is an imperial topaz mine worked by garimpeiros (individual miners).
Topaz is extracted by largely open-air workings in deeply weathered marble. The marble has largely turned to unstable clay and the topaz crystals remain. This was a truly Dickensian operation with lots of small boys and a few bosses, who each seem to have a small part of the field. The mine is located on the steep hillside below the Cave of Our Lady of Lapa, where it makes a prominent scar. The deeper and underground parts of the mine look quite dangerous. Poor quality stones are sold to tourists.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.