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
WWW.Payloadz.com and search by the title. $12 It will save you heartache and money.