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A bit of history on one of our favourite gemstones

Introducing Tanzanite
Some of you might already know that Tanzanite is one of our favourite gemstones. Its amazing colours changing from Blue to green to violet depending on the stone and cut make it something to be admired. Here is a brief introduction to this very rare gemstone.
Stumbled upon by one of the Maasai tribesman Jumanne Ngoma in 1967 at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro it was originally thought to be Sapphire. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d'Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims. I was soon discovered later that it was in fact a type zoisite that had never been seen before. Then in 1968 Tiffany & Company launched a massive campaign of this new gemstone that was to be called Blue Zoisite. It was decided that this name sounded too much like blue suicide so it was changed to Tanzanite in honour of the area of which it was found. Now one of the amazing parts of the history of Tanzanite is that it can only be found in an area of Tanzania that is 7km x 2km thus 14km2 of this Earth heralds this beautiful Gem. Current estimations of the mines places Tanzanite 1000 times rarer than Diamond.
With issues of smuggling raw stones and other issues the Tanzanian government has now built a 24.50km wall to surround the entire area in 2017 & 2018. The land itself still belongs to the Maasai tribe but what of Jumanne who original discovered Tanzanite. Well, he received two certificates of recognition for the Tanzanian government in 1980 & 1984 but no financial benefit. Just recently though he was awarded 100 million shillings (about $44,000) from the Tanzanian government. The average annual salary in Tanzania is $25,922. Now at 78 years of age this could certainly have been used earlier but at least there was some financial reward and he is also a local hero.
Recently another local Maasai tribesman discovered two raw gemstones with a combined weight of 14 kilograms in his mine. Doto Biteko who is the Minister of Mineral agreed to buy the two raw stones for 7.74 billion shillings or 3.34 million US Dollars in June 2020. Not a bad find from a small mine for a local tribe member. The two stones are said to be heading for the National Museum.
Now we don’t know the future but much like the Argyle Diamonds we wonder what will happen to the price of these beautiful stones once they are mined out. Being 1000 times rarer than diamond we think they are worth holding onto 😊

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