Mining for sun in Tanzania!

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Cindi, Diana, Mary Elizabeth, and Mathew having a lovely visit!

Recently we had a lovely visit from Diana, who is the owner of over 15 mines in Tanzania on the Eastern part of Africa.  Our gem dealer Mathew Kasanga and his sister Emmy have been supplying unique gems from Tanzania for a couple of years now.  Tanzania is most famous for Tanzanite, a lovely purple blue gem that is only found in that country, however many different gems also come out of the mines there.  Sunstone, moonstone, and other forms of Feldspar, as well as tourmaline, onyx, sapphire, quartz, moonstone, aquamarine and other gems come from the mines in Tanzania.

Diana was visiting Mathew and came down to the store so we could show her pieces we have made from her gems, and she shared with us photos of her mines.  One of the interesting things about the mines, is that in one large area there will be a seam of gemstone material.  As you travel down the seam, the color of the gems changes.  So in one area you would have grey moonstone changing to black, to golden colors.  Some of the photos below show the type of material coming out of the mines in the photograph.

It was wonderful to visit Diana, and one of the things we love about purchasing stones from her mines is that it is another woman owned and operated enterprise, in a place where you wouldn’t expect.  And, it is fun to see the photos of where our gems were “born”!

The photos below show one of Diana’s mines in Gairo, Tanzania, about 225 miles from Dar es Salaam which is the largest city in Eastern Africa and a major port and trading center.  We’ve also shared photos of some finished gems from that mine and others!

 

golden sunstone in the rough. Also known as golden Feldspar.

Golden sunstone in the rough. Also known as golden Feldspar.

 

black moonstone rough and finished cabachons

Black moonstone rough and finished cabachons

 

finding the "seam" and breaking up the rough rock to access the gem material

Finding the “seam” and breaking up the rough rock to access the gem material

 

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Where others see rock, they know where the gems are hiding!

 

loading up the rough

Loading up the rough

 

taking the rough for cleaning and sorting

Taking the rough for cleaning and sorting

 

 

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Working in a beautiful landscape, breaking the rough into cuttable sizes and removing non-gem material.

 

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Diana puts her boots up!

 

Once the mined material makes in into the cutting phase, that is where we jump in, picking through the gems to carefully find the “cream of the crop” and find individual gems or carefully matched pairs to make jewelry with.  Then we play, finding unique gem combinations and designs to show off the jewelry to it’s fullest potential!

Check out the projects underway! Recognize the black sunstones on the upper left? And the golden sunstone in the top center has been finished into some lovely earrings, see below!

Here are some examples of finished jewelry from Diana’s mines, and we have more coming!  Keep your eyes out for some special heart shaped pieces just in time for Valentine’s day!  From the rocks in Africa to our showcases, these gems really know how to shine!

gorgeous sunstones and pyrope garnets

Gorgeous sunstones and pyrope garnet earrings

 

wm Stock labradorite cage pendant 1

Laboradorite, a form of feldspar, glimmers in this unique cage style pendant

 

wm Stock Barbara sunstone earrings 2

Sunstone catches the light and sparkles in these earrings

 

wm stock heart strawberry quartz pendant 2

“Strawberry” quartz is red feldspar inclusions within a quartz host stone. Perfect for your sweetheart.

 

wm stock black spinel garnet diamond earrings

Faceted black spinel and red garnet with diamond accents

 

wm Stock strawberry quartz earrings rose gold 1

Beautiful strawberry quartz in rose gold dangles