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Tanzanite: An exclusive gem of Tanzania

TANZANITE is a unique gemstone that is 1000 times rarer than diamonds.

The gemstone is a blue variety of zoisite composed of hydrous calcium aluminium silicate with an orthorhombic crystal habit. The rare gemstone is found at only one locality in the world, at Mirerani hills in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, Tanzania. It takes only 15 minutes to drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport and one to one and a half hours from Moshi and Arusha town.

However, Mirerani is said to originate from Mirera trees found in the Mirerani Hills. Tanzanite is a pleochroic gem. Pleochroism is a physical property in which the material appears to be different colours when viewed from different crystallographic directions or angles.

Some tanzanite specimens can be a distinct blue when viewed from one direction, and vary from violet to burgundy or maroon when viewed from other directions. This gemstone's age is estimated to be about 600 million years in geological time scales. It was discovered in 1967 by the Late Jumanne Mhero Ngoma.

On April 6, 2018, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania officially recognised Mzee Ngoma as the discoverer of the tanzanite gemstone. There are approximately 840 mining licenses at Mirerani, of which 250 are currently mined. The mines at Mirerani are divided into five blocks: Block A, B, C, D and D- extension.

The blocks are subdivided to ensure proper distinction, identification, and monitoring of the mines around the area. All mines in Mirerani are surrounded by the popularly known Magufuli Wall of 24.5 kilometres long and three meters high. The wall is juxtaposed with Mirerani Controlled Area Regulations, 2018, which significantly helped control the smuggling of the gem.

The wall was also intended to strengthen the condusive environment for tanzanite trade and benefit the country from levies and taxes. Since the Magufuli Wall's construction, the nation has witnessed a number of positive outcomes from the rare gemstone one among them are the increase in government revenue from small scale miners at Mirerani raised to 2.15bn/- in 2019 from 166m/- in 2018.

Nevertheless, recently Tanzania witnessed an extraordinary three (3) rare big sized gemstones that have never happened in the history of tanzanite in the country. The big pieces were mined by a Tanzanian small scale miner Saniniu Kurian Laizer. The biggest stone weighed 9.27kgs worth 4.3bn/-, second with 6.33kgs and valued at 4.8bn/-.

The third piece weighed 5.103kg attracting 3.375bn/-. All these symbolise the magnitude and significance of the “Magufuli Wall”. Talking about security at Mirerani, the place is enhanced with about 306 CCTV cameras throughout the wall perimeter recording incidents in all weather conditions.

The purpose is to detect objects and people entering the controlled area, storing permanent information, noticing those who intend to commit crimes, and track incidents. However, tanzanite business at Mirerani is progressing well and equipped with all the required necessities for business conveniences with The Mirerani One-Stop Center's construction.

The centre includes tanzanite valuation amenities. As a country, we still call upon investors to invest in adding value to tanzanite and other gemstones by investing in cutting and polishing industries in Tanzania. Opportunities in this area are bountiful and so encourage everyone to invest in the Value Addition Industry.

Generally, following its uniqueness, Tanzania plans to establish a Tanzanite Mineral Museum at the Mirerani area to provide opportunities for people from various parts of the world to visit the mineral’s place of origin. Have tanzanite experience and the whole chain of tanzanite mining and value addition.

The goal is to give to the world a heritage feeling of the unique wealth that only Tanzania is endowed with. On top of that, tanzanite was designated as a modern birthstone for December in 2002. Tanzanite is named December birthstone together with zircon and turquoise. December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues; all of them, appropriately as best known for best shades of blue.

On Friday, April 9, 2021, the Buckingham Palace ...


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