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Day 3: How to Buy Tanzanite in Tanzania

April 02, 2018

Today is Day 3 in Tanzania. If you missed Day 2, you can see it here. Steve and Matt have been to the mines, and now today is the day where they do some actual buying of Tanzanite. Below we will go through the entire buying process and Matt Bigelow (professional photographer and family friend) is going to be taking amazing pictures of the day.

SUNI

Like the other mornings, Steve and Matt started off with a good local breakfast. After that they headed to Suni's office. Suni has been the contact here for buying Tanzanite. Steve met Suni a few years ago from another trip to Tanzania. It's hard to find someone you can really trust in Tanzania, well anywhere for that matter, so it's great to have a friend there. For this trip, Suni has been driving Steve and Matt to the different mines in Tanzania and is actually a local mine owner and gem dealer, that has a ton of contacts in the Tanzanite business. Great to be with him during this trip.

HOW TO BUY TANZANITE

Buying Tanzanite or any other gemstones is a pretty straigh forward process. So what happens?

  • You want to set up a meeting with the people that have the gemstones. So all the dealers are contacted and made aware that Steve (or any other buyer) is in the area and looking to buy stones.
  • If there is a dealer that has something of Interest for Steve, than I meeting is set up
  • When they meet, if Steve likes any of the stones, he and dealer agree to a price

Not to hard right? Well there are always things that happen between those steps, which we will talk about below, but that's basically the outline of how to purchase Tanzanite is Tanzania.

ROUGH VS. CUT TANZANITE

When Steve looks at Tanzanite, many times they are offered in rough. Steve prefers this form, as he gets to then cut it the way he wants. But many times the dealers do bring him cut gemstones (the kind you are used to seeing). He has been cutting gemstones for decades, so he is a perfectionist, and many of the cut gemstones that dealers bring him are far from perfect, so that requires him to recut the stone when he gets back into the states, which means more time and more money.

WHY BUY TANZANITE IN TANZANIA?

It's always best to go to the source for Tanzanite, or any other gemstone for that matter. And what's so unique about Tanzania is that it's the only place on earth you can find Tanzania. So you can take a trip out to Nevada and try to mine Tanzanite...it ain't going to happen! And this is why Steve travels here so much. This is why we have the biggest selection of the finest Tanzanite gemstones.

CHOOSING TANZANITE

Like all gemstones, their are color variations in Tanzanite. With Tanzanite, most colors are a shade of blue to purple. Some colors are more desired than others, especially the deep purple. But you can even find Tanzanite with shades of red. Below is a reddish Tanzanite that Steve says is particularly rare...and wow is it beautiful.

BUYING SINGLE TANZANITE VS A PARCEL OF TANZANITE

Above we listed out the common steps to buying Tanzanite, and like we said, this isn't always the case. And this actually happened today during the buying trip. After looking at all the Tanzanite from one particular dealer, Steve chosen 3-4 pieces of Tanzanite he wanted to purchase. Then came talking about the price. We'll come to find out, the dealer of these particular Tanzanite didn't one to piece them out, he wanted Steve to purchase the entire lot, also known as a parcel. Seems like a scam doesn't it? Well according to Steve, this this quite common in the industry.

Why do they do it?

So imagine that you have 10 pieces of Tanzanite. You need to sell them all. Out of the 10, 7 of them are bad to ok, 3 of them are amazing. If you go and only sell the 3 amazing stones, you are left with 7 ok pieces, which are going to be much harder to sell. But if you sell them as a parcel, you are guaranteed to not only sell the great ones, but the bad ones too.

What did Steve do?

Well after negotiating for the entire parcel, the price was just too high for Steve. He hated leaving behind the amazing Tanzanite pieces, but didn't want to spend that much for the entire parcel. It was only day 3 of the trip, so he knew there would be many more opportunities for Tanzanite buying in the future.

It's always best to go to the source for Tanzanite, or any other gemstone for that matter. And what's so unique about Tanzania is that it's the only place on earth you can find Tanzania. So you can take a trip out to Nevada and try to mine Tanzanite...it ain't going to happen! And this is why Steve travels here so much. This is why we have the biggest selection of the finest Tanzanite gemstones.

BACK TO SUNI

After the dealer meeting was over, it was time to talk with Suni again. He had brought some gemstones he recently aquired and wanted to discuss them with Steve. Having Steve there was good for Suni as well. Because of the Steve's knowledge, he can not only help Suni, but give him some education each time Steve comes to Tanzania. Matt was watching this whole experience unfold and said it felt like science class all over again.

Heating Gemstones

One interesting thing they did during this session was the process of heating up gemstones. I, being Steve's son, have seen this process in action many times back at our shop in Indiana. It was cool seeing pictures of this happening in Tanzania. What does heating gemstones do? It can actually change the color of the gemstone! Not only can it lighten or darken a gemstone, but in some cases, completely change the color of a gemstone. In the picture below, a red gemstone is being changed to a peach color. Real cool stuff!

 

 HEAD TO DAY 4 IN TANZANIA


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