The Mozambique Orogenic Belt, one of the world's most heavily mineralized regions, is home to the only commercial tanzanite mines in existence, which are located near Mount Kilimanjaro. Initially, it was simple to gather tanzanite on the surface, but scavenger mining soon gave way to pits, which are now replaced by tunnels that, in some cases, have reached hundreds of meters below ground.
A small, but defined area
In 1990, the Tanzanian government separated the tanzanite mining region, which was just two kilometers broad and four kilometers long, into four portions-blocks A, B, C, and D that have been assigned to various mining companies. While locals have been given access to mines in blocks B and D, the other two blocks are reserved only for major operators and international investment.
A sophisticated system
Tanzanite is extracted from pegmatitic veins known as boudins that have fractured into smaller fragments due to extreme pressure. The boudins include tiny pockets of gems. Not every boudin will yield tanzanite and many of those that do often contain inferior gemstones unfit for creating tanzanite jewelry.
According to geological research, tanzanite strata can be found 200 meters underground. With a drop in mining levels, more complex infrastructure is needed to reach the tanzanite. As a result, world-class infrastructure is put in place to protect the shafts, provide air supply and ventilation, watering and dewatering, assure the safety of the mineworkers, and to ensure that the tanzanite can be removed safely and effectively.
After mining comes processing and sorting which is done on the site itself. A global first in the coloured gemstone business is the sorting of rough tanzanite both manually and by the means of a fully automated optical sorting/primary grading system.
The sorting procedure is broken down into various steps. First the stones are removed from the shaft, then transported to the sorting facility where they are cleaned and weighed. There the unwanted elements, or non-gem residue, are taken out before the cobbing procedure begins. The gems are then cobbed and graded in order to be separated into different categories:
1. Good-quality gems are taken out for grading in terms of carat, clarity, and color
2. Other gems are kept separate to be sold in their natural state
3. Off-cuts or "trash" are gathered to be sold locally.
The gems are ready to be packaged and prepared for sale only once all grading and size processes have been completed. These spectacular blue gemstones are transported to top mine-to-market brands like Top Tanzanite, where we create the best tanzanite jewelry designs for customers.
Among the few dealers of original tanzanite, we provide the highest quality, certified tanzanite jewelry for sale. We also offer loose gemstones for you to customize your personal statement pieces. Connect with us whenever you want to buy tanzanite, tanzanite jewelry or wish to design stunning tanzanite pieces. Our staff will be pleased to work with you so you can cherish your tanzanite jewelry for a lifetime.
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