Day 9: Back to the Tanzanite Mines

by Steve Moriarty March 30, 2018

It's day 9...Steve Moriarty (the owner of this site and Moriarty's Gem Art) and Matt Bigelow (family friend and professional photographer) decided to head out and go back to the mines. They had a huge success the first time they traveled to the Tanzanite mines to do some buying, so they decided to go back.


When you go to the mines, the actual miners are bringing you the stones they This means no broker and no middleman which can cause the price to skyrocket. When Steve and Matt were at the mines the first time, they were getting stones 1/3 the price that the dealers were selling them. Now, going to the mines can be intimidating and more stressful, but the deals are worth it!

 Tanzanite in Arusha

The $100 Mine Fee

When entering a mining area, there is a large gate guarded by groups of men. There is a fee of $100 for every time you enter the mine. Doesn't matter if you are alone, with a broker or even with the mine owner, you have to pay the $100 entrance fee each time. Even with Sune (a friend, the driver and owner of this mine), they still had to pay the $100 fee.

Tanzanite Miners


On this day, Steve was taken by surprise as even before entering the gates of the mine, a gentleman came up selling a huge piece of Tanzanite as you can see below. This person was on his way to the next town in hopes of selling it...and came across Steve!

This was a great piece of Tanzanite, but the issue was if he had purchased it, he would have no money left over for the rest of the day's buying. Since they hadn't even been into the mines yet, it would have been a rushed decision and possibly not a good one. So he passed on this stone.

Testing Tanzanite Stones

One great thing about Steve is his knowledge of not only Tanzanite, but the tools to grade and test Tanzanite. He does things such as immersing the Tanzanite in a special liquid to see inside the stone. It sort of covers the outside of the stone so you can more accurately seen the inside's imperfections if it has any.

Security at the Tanzanite Mines

After dealing with the same group of miners for quite some time and Steve knowing that he wanted to purchase quiate bit in stones, he thought it would be best to head over to Sune's mining area where it would be more secure and they could start bargaining and taking a better look at all the Tanzanite gems available.

Reviewing & Bargaining for Tanzanite

Once they made it to Sune's mining area, they pulled up to a picnic table and Steve did his thing. From taking a closer look at the stones they had to offer, to testing them, to bargaining with them. This is when Steve pulled out another special tool which measures the conductivity of the stone that you touch to it. This is very valuable when you are dealing with a strange shape, a rare color (like green Tanzanite) or a stone that you are not quite familiar with.

Because Shillings are used, it's takes a lot of them to even equal one US dollar. This makes it look strange when youare spending a lot of US dollars. But Steve found what he was looking for that day and it was time to make the exchange.

Steve Moriarty
Steve Moriarty

Steve Moriarty has been in the jewelry industry for over 30 years. Steve is not only a jeweler, but a gem cutter and designer. He has traveled the world in search of gemstone rough and has owned a retail jewelry store for 20 years located in Crown Point, Indiana.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Tanzanite News & Information

Tanzanite vs Amethyst: What is the Difference?
Tanzanite vs Amethyst: What is the Difference?

by Steve Moriarty July 16, 2024

Read More
Mermaid Tanzanite: What is It?
Mermaid Tanzanite: What is It?

by Steve Moriarty October 25, 2023

Read More
D Block Tanzanite: Does it Produce the Best Color?
D Block Tanzanite: Does it Produce the Best Color?

by Steve Moriarty October 24, 2023

Read More