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A Palestinian opens an exhibition of gemstones and rocks in Gaza

Palestine-ALSharqiya October 15: Palestinian Salah al-Kahlout, from Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, turned one of his apartments into an exhibition of gemstones and rocks, which he worked to collect over a period of more than 5 years, with the help of a team of experts and volunteers.
The gemstones and rocks displayed by Al-Kahlout vary in size and dates, as they monitor geological eras, some of which date back hundreds of years, and were collected either from the sea or from the sky, and all of them are from inside the sector.
The idea began for the Palestinian amateur in the early 2000s, when he was able to introduce a specialized device for examining precious stones and rocks during his return to the Strip, after performing the Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia, before his plan entered into force in the last five years.
In the home exhibition, hundreds of pieces and stones that Kahlout and the team with him worked on categorizing and placing them inside plastic bags, each carrying a different type of rock, while placing his name on the front of each paper on the bags.
Al-Kahlout told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that this work took shape as an idea and a personal hobby for him before he translated it into a real work on the ground. He was able to collect and purchase a number of precious stones and rocks within the sector, for which the seashore or their fall from space is considered the only source.
The Palestinian hobbyist bears a large financial burden in order to collect these pieces and precious stones, whether by purchasing them from some of their collectors in the Gaza Strip, or in order to work on classifying them.
The displayed varieties of precious stones vary between sapphire and peridot, in addition to another list of stones that Al-Kahlout collected and placed inside his exhibition, which he called "Palestine Exhibition for Precious Stones", which he hopes will be the first and largest Palestinian.
According to Al-Kahlout, there is no specific price for all precious stones or rocks, as it varies according to their nature, quality and composition, and the price of some of them reached 1200 US dollars, while some did not exceed a few dollars.
Al-Kahlout, accompanied by those close to him, works mainly on collecting these pieces from the seashore, by searching in the early morning times for the rocks and stones that the sea throws, and subjecting them to evaluation and examination, before he adopts them and transports them to be ready for display.
The Palestinian hobbyist and his team hired a large group of specialists in the field of precious stones and rocks, which gave them experience and skill in identifying what they collected in the recent period easily, and distinguishing between rocks and gemstones and the imitation of them.
Al-Kahlout was recently able to obtain accreditation from the relevant government agencies in the sector to collect and display these pieces, and opened the way for graduate students in local Palestinian universities, and helped them identify rocks and their types.
According to the owner of the "Palestine Gemstones" exhibition, this process is completely different from the process of collecting antiquities and historical collectibles, as the latter documents historical periods and existing civilizations, while rocks and precious stones document ages in a purely geological terms.
The place is subject to permanent expansion and development by the team to make it more developed, more organized and more familiar with the stones and rocks inside, while he hopes that this place will turn into an exhibition available to the public during the coming period, which is what Al-Kahlout is working on in the recent period.
Al-Kahlout and his team work in a primitive and simple way, at a time when this work requires the introduction of specialized equipment and machines for examining stones, knowing all their contents, examining the chemical composition of each one and the nature of the materials it contains.
The Palestinian plans to participate in Arab and international exhibitions during the coming period to prove and enhance the Palestinian presence in the field of precious stones and rocks, in addition to acquiring more skill and knowledge in this field through contact with external expertise.
He also aspires to turn this exhibition into a Palestinian shrine and teacher documenting the precious stones and rocks that he collected from inside the Gaza Strip, and to serve as a scientific reference for students in their field of study and to achieve economic benefit for him and the team working with him.

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