The Death of Tanzanite Mines -- Buy Tanzanite Now?

Tanzanite may have a short life. The ugly brown-green pebble, that was discovered to have a beautiful sister, blue-violet and pink flashes, seems mined out according to Jewelry Television hosts. The company sent representatives to Tanzania to check the situation. The report is being quoted, as I write this, on JTV. JTV claims to control 75% of the world's supply of gem quality tanzanite. Television vendors and E-bay vendors are selling it; on the air now is a 1.25ct.7mm medium color, round for $251.43. E-bay had more than 40 pages of tanzanite yesterday, most of it light colored stones. The JTV host is urging us to buy now or risk never being able to get such low prices again. A 6.50ct dark color, 11mm round is $6691. The host is urging shoppers to buy, hold the gem for 3-4 months and see what happens. He has been saying that prices will go up. The television vendor is also selling green-blue/green-violet stones that they have given the trademarked name of Ocean Tanzanite.  This is a common ploy that reminds us of used-car salesmen.  Gems, of course, can be one of a kind and mined out.

This host and others during the day have been revealing bits of information from the company's trip to Tanzania. They report that production is down 75% from the highs of previous years. Massai tribesmen that used to be 30 deep in lines waiting to sell appeared in numbers of 6 or 7 and often had single stones. The mines are deep in this 8 square mile area, making the cost of getting air down to miners very high. The artisanal mines, those left for individuals to get what they can, are empty, where they used to be teaming with people. This is a picture of the end of tanzanite mining for gem quality rough.

Tanzanite One, the company on the stock exchange which owns most of the best section of the mining area, announced a few months ago that it would be marketing heavily included, and opaque stones. In it's reports to stockholders, it denied that tanzanite mining was finished and said that it was opening new shafts, but for tsavorite, not tanzanite.

The government of Tanzania, in April 2010 increased it's tariffs on mining from 3 to 4 % on all metals and gems produced in the country. In May 2010 it is prohibiting the export of tanzanite rough over 1 gram weight. I have to wonder if this is all too late. Tanzania tried a few years ago to prohibit rough leaving the country, but apparently couldn't or wouldn't enforce that ban.  Will they enforce it now?  The big deal is that Tanzania does not have a large supply of skilled gem cutters, as do India, China and Thailand.  Will Tanzania be able to quickly train or import skilled cutters?   If not, the country may ruin many stones. 

Should we all hurry to buy tanzanite in the hopes of selling it for a lot more in the future? The JTV and other television vendors are telling us to do so. They are saying that people in China who had never shown an interest in tanzanite are suddenly in the market.   The U.S. has been the primary tanzanite market. Now we have competition, lack of gem quality rough and a change in government taxes and policy.  Yet, a local jeweler I know has had a beautiful, AAAA, 6 ct. gem for 5 years and can't sell it for $6000, set, even when sending it to other vendors.

Some problems with buying gems on T.V. are lighting and buying from parcels.  It's difficult to tell the quality of a gem on television because of screen settings and studio lights. Unless a stone is one of a kind, it's difficult, too, to know what you will receive. If a gem is part of a parcel, specify when you order the size, color, and quality that you will accept.  I have bought  tanzanite and returned it because it was significantly lighter in color than what I had seen offered on T.V.

I love tanzanite, deep, dark blue with violet overtones and pink flashes ( or deep purple with blue tones and pink flashes), and wish I had the money to buy high quality stones. They are beautiful .and I'm a woman who loves beautiful things. The best color is only revealed in stones of 3 to 4 cts. or more, so I have expensive taste. If anyone has $6000 or so to spend on tanzanite, just to make me smile, I wouldn't say, no thank you.

Some of the above is illustrative of what you will learn in my newly published book, designed to educate consumers on gems and jewelry buying: Enhanced, Plated, Irradiated and Lab Created: What Jewelry Vendors Don't Want You to Know. Go to the store of and search by the title. $12 It will save you heartache and money.

Top Quality and light Tanzanite


Comments 17 comments

Jeannette Isabella 6 years ago

Great article! I haven't been keeping up with JTV lately so thanks for the head's up. That is very sad but unsurprising news about Tanzania. I will be reading and watching for more news on Tanzanites.

Thank you!

lifedancer profile image

lifedancer 6 years ago from California Author

After searching the internet, JTV seems to be the only source for this info about the state of the mines.

gemlover 6 years ago

I would take this with a huge pinch of salt. Maybe true, maybe a marketing ploy to squeeze up the prices and get people panic-buying.

lifedancer profile image

lifedancer 6 years ago from California Author

Yes, DSN said it's not selling any more, about 6 months ago, because of price instability, yet it continues to buy some jewelry and stones. Tanzanite prices are down in the U.S. because of the economy. Still, I don't see many of the AAAA quality stones that used to be prevalent on T.V. The company that owns the mines, Tanzanite One, has huge stockpiles of the stones. What quality is the big question. That's why I don't invest in gems; they can be as volatile as the stock market.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, this is interesting, maybe it is going to be the next diamond! but seriously is it a ploy or maybe it is a genuine problem, thanks for this, I do love stones, not always the expensive ones, but I have a mixed collection, so I will be keeping my eyes open, thanks, nell

Krystal 5 years ago

My boyfriend and I started thinking about getting engaged. Tanzanite is my birthstone and I know I don't want a diamond. At first I was really thinking about an aqualmarie stone... and now Im just lost. I really love the ocean Tanzanite but fear people will think we been ripped off. Help!

lifedancer profile image

lifedancer 5 years ago from California Author

I too like the "Ocean Tanzanite" as seen on JTV. Do your research: check lots of web sites and call some jewelry stores (not chain types) to ask about prices. The "Ocean Tanzanite" is not time-tested, so we don't know what it's worth or will be worth in the future. The "Ocean T" is supposed to be untreated, where as all blue/blue-violet/purple Tanzanite is heated. Search for the web site that give the grades of Tanzanite, graded from AAAA down to A. What ever stone you decide to buy, make sure to loupe it looking for major flaws like chips on the edges and internal flaws. MOst Tanzanite offered for sale is near VS ( without inclusions visible to a trained jeweler), so don't accept flawed ones. Once you've done some research, don't drive yourself crazy over thinking. I do that. The best deals will be private, but you won't find "Ocean Tanzanite"; it's too new. Check estate sales, if you have the time and local auction houses. That's the best I can do.

walter 3 years ago

Hi, am walter from Arusha Tanzania i would like to invite anybody who is ready to invest in mining Tanzanite..... for more information contact me.. the number is +255754510304

lifedancer profile image

lifedancer 3 years ago from California Author

I'd love to hear more of your personal experience with gems and see pictures of stones you have. You need a web site. There are free sources. What do you know of the effects of the government's ban on the export of rough above a certain size (I forget the size.)? I have some fake stones that you'd swear are real, but just looking. A refractometer test would reveal their true composition.

NickDiMarco 3 years ago

I have a certified 5ct oval IF tanzanite that I'm looking to sell. Anyone interested?

james apollonio 3 years ago

I have a 22.44 ct triangular modified brilliant violet blue e c clarity for sell anyone with an interest should contact me at

Chantel 3 years ago

I have two tanzanite gems I'd like to sell. $200 a ct. If interested let me know

Lynn Wilde 3 years ago

This does not seem to be a profitable place to sell tanzanite. Has anyone sold from posting here? Just curious?

lifedancer profile image

lifedancer 3 years ago from California Author

At the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, the TV jewelry channels are all selling lots of tanzanite, but of the less saturated color. AAAA color is not being offered. For the last 3-4 years, light colored tanzanite has been used extensively as an accent stone and as the main stones in bracelets, probably because of a cheap price for the impact. Clean, light purple tanzanite has a lot of sparkle. We can't know how these beautiful, but pale gems will be valued in the future. Prices now are low, so, if you like a piece of jewelry with light tanzanite, you can buy it without worry. Some TV vendors are reporting a breakdown of control at the mines.

cls 2 years ago

I have a pear shaped brilliant blue 14 ct stone forsale. lovely color possess all three colors blue, violet, and red. pendant with yellow gold setting surrounded in baguettes.

jockeyclub 2 years ago

i have a 65.11ct tanzanite pear shape, certificated exceptional deep purple/blue for sale, if interested is my contact

Dee 2 years ago

My husband just spent $4000.00 on an 8 carat "ocean" tanzanite from gem shopping network. Are you saying this stone is sub standard and is basically being dropped on the consumer because it is cheaper material? I would expect that from JTV but sad to hear gem shopping network doing it 2!!!

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