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Tanzanites "A blessing or curse"

Have you ever heard of Tanzanites? probably yes, and  If you are rich enough you probably have a bunch of jewels made of it.  I know Tanzanites simply because I am a Tanzanian,  I have never worn them, ever, well partly because I can not afford them anyway, not in this salary.  Hey don't be sad now because I really don't like Blue stones anyway. But incase you have never heard of it read the below paragraph

Miss Tanzania's Crown

 Tanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone. It occurs in only one place worldwide. Its blue, surrounded by a fine hint of purple, is a wonderful colour. Thanks to its unusual aura, it has rapidly become one of the most coveted gemstones in the world. It is named after the East African country of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found. Africa? Does anyone think of gemstones when they hear that name? Well they should, because Africa is a continent which provides the world with a multitude of truly magnificent gemstones, like tanzanite for example. 


On its discovery in 1967, it was enthusiastically celebrated by the specialists as the 'gemstone of the 20th century'. They held their breath in excitement as they caught sight of the first deep-blue crystals which had been found in the Mererani Hills near Arusha in the north of Tanzania. Millions of years ago, metamorphic schists, gneisses and quartzites formed impressive, flat-topped inselbergs on a vast plain in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. The precious crystals grew in deposits on the inside of these unusual elevations. For a long, long time they were hidden from the eye of Man, until one day some passing Masai shepherds noticed some sparkling crystals lying in the sun and took them along with them.

Raw Tanzanite directly from the mine
Manuel de Souza, a Goan tailor and part-time gold prospector living in Arusha (Tanzania), found transparent fragments of vivid blue and blue-purple gem crystals on a ridge near Mererani, some 40 km southeast of Arusha. He decided that the mineral was olivine (peridot) but quickly realized that it was not, so he took to calling it "dumortierite", a blue non-gem mineral. Shortly thereafter, D'Souza showed the stones to John Saul, a Nairobi-based consulting geologist and gemstone wholesaler who was then mining aquamarine in the region around Mount Kenya. 

Saul, with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., who later discovered the famous ruby deposits in the Tsavo area of Kenya, eliminated dumortierite and cordierite as possibilities, and sent samples to his father, Hyman Saul, vice president at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Hyman Saul brought the samples across the street to the Gemological Institute of America who correctly identified the new gem as a variety of the mineral zoisite. Correct identification was also made by mineralogists at Harvard University, the British Museum, and Heidelberg University, but the very first person to get the identification right was Ian McCloud, a Tanzanian government geologist based in Dodoma

Heat treated Tanzanite (Notice the velvet violet colour)

Tanzanite Engagement Rings
                  Tanzanite Engagement Rings

Displaying the good-looking possessions of polychromaticity, tanzanite exhibits dissimilar colors  at what time viewed  from dissimilar angles. It might come into view purple from one point of view, azure from the next, and yellow brownish from the third point of view. Many Hollywood stars and starlets have  also  adorned  themselves  with tanzanite. Stars like Salma Hayek, Elle Mac Pherson, Natsha McElhone, Cate  Blanchett, Bond girl and golden  globe best actress winner Teri Hatcher, and many others have been spotted wearing tanzanite.

Effects of "Tanzanite" on Tanzanian Economy

To many outsiders who have never been to Tanzania having a precious gemstone named after your country seems like a cool thing, but its not. Having a precious stone named after your country while over 50% of the people in your county still live under poverty line is an insult, so I normally feel insulted whenever I talk or think of Tanzanites. More than 40years later since the discovery of this precious stone, this country is still among the poorest nations in the world, in all social aspects. 

There are still no enough classrooms in schools, when there are enough classrooms there aren't enough desks so kids sit down in class rooms, and when there are   enough desks then its most probable that the school does not have enough teachers. 

A school in Tanzania

No enough medical facilities and hospitals, you do not even wish to visit most government owned district and regional hospitals, they have poor infrastructures, drug shortages, short-staffed and almost without qualified doctors and specialists. Two patients share the same bed in most hospitals here, I went to Ocean Road Cancer Institute this week, a friend of mine is admitted there, and in the female wing all beds were occupied by two patients, each bed. And this is a renowned cancer institute in this country. 

Did you know that this country does not have a functioning  public emergency responders? or functioning emergency rooms in the hospitals?

Maternity ward in Temeke district Hospital ( Naomi Campbell wept because of this ward)

Our Infrastructures are still a joke, the country does not have enough roads, even in major cities like Dar es salaam traffic jams is a way of life. There are no modern railway lines, we are just in the process of building 'an actual airport" our marine services are still a joke, and our Airline "ATCL' has only one crippled plane. 50 Years of Independence and we still do not have a proper functioning infrastructures. 

And yet We have Tanzanite (which by the way is almost running out), we have Gold deposits, Diamond deposits, Rubies, Natural gases and much more.  So If you ask me, if there are any positive effects of discovery of Tanzanites or any other gem stones in This country I will tell no.

What I can tell you though is this; Environmental degradation has accelerated since the discovery of all this. You visit these areas and all you can see is big holes in the ground, and more big abandoned holes where the minerals have run out. The life standard of people living around these areas is still poor, and by the way these foreign investors who have mines in the areas treat local people so poorly, and when these poor citizens complains or decides to strike they are normally arrested or get dispersed by force.

Pic 104. The Mererani mines
This is Mererani Tanzania, a place where all those precious gems are being mined. Get what I have been saying all along now?
 I do not even want to go as far as talking of how much is actually being reported to the government compared to what has been actually dug from these mines. People have been complaining over and over again that most of the minerals mined from this country are never reported, we have seen committees being formed and their reports being read but so far nothing has changed. And if anything has changed then a normal Tanzanian "mlalahoi" is yet to feel the ease.  It is actually being claimed that these foreign companies gets help, a lot of help from the government officials in concealing the actual harvests from their mines. If they do, shame upon you people who help in exploiting your own country

Most probably no one who can actually initiate any change will read this, but if it actually happens that someone like that read this here is my message to you; If you are a leader, a government official, elected or selected, it is your duty to serve the people of this country. 

Stop thinking of yourselves and your families and start thinking of this country as whole and its people. It is okay for you to drive fancy cars, live in big luxurious houses and send your kids to good schools and abroad if necessary because you can afford all that. What is not okay, is for any of you to live that kind of life on the expenses of the lives of Tanzanian people. People are dying everyday because of poor social services, get up and do something, and stop that thing hat you do of asking and receiving bribes from these capitalists. It is your God given duty to serve the people of this country, so get up and do your job. Or else you will not meet God, that's if you believe in God. I have said it once and I will say it again "the blood of all Tanzanians who could have been saved but are dying everyday is in your hands"

So, my opinion is "Tanzanite should have stayed hidden until we had developed enough to have our own companies, and enough technology to dig, process, value and sell these stones elsewhere"

This is my opinion, you are allowed to differ.