With many gemstones, our customers love to hear where they actually come from. Steve Moriarty travels the world looking for gemstones, and gives a great story about where each of them originated. One is Tanzanite. This stone comes from Tanzania, where Steve has traveled to a 1/2 dozen times over the years. In the video below, Steve goes into detail about the mines and where the best blue and purple Tanzanite can be found.
Hi, I'm Steve Moriarty from TanzaniteJewelryDesigns.com. We're located right here in Indiana, just south of Lake Michigan near Chicago. And I'm going to take you on a little trip to the Tanzanite mines in Tanzania.
My flight starts at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and I fly KLM to Amsterdam, about an eight-hour flight. And from Amsterdam a nine-hour flight to Tanzania. Here's Tanzania. Here's Mt. Kilimanjaro and Nairobi and Kenya. And my goal is Arusha right here. Arusha is known as the gateway to the Serengeti Plains. The Serengeti is where all the animal shows you see on TV take place, all the major migrations. And over in here is the Serengeti Plains.
This area right here is known as Ngorongoro. It's an ancient volcano. This crater is somewhere either 15 or 25 miles across. All the animals that are in here stay here. They don't migrate. So you can go to Ngorongoro crater anytime of year and see all the big five animals. Nearby is Lake Manyara, again, a very popular place for flamingos. There's literally millions of flamingos that are in this lake.
Back to Arusha. This is where I stay, Arusha. It is the major marketing for tanzanite. And this last trip I didn't expect to go anywhere but Arusha. But I got to know a miner who actually owns one of the mines in Marelani. So when you fly into Kilimanjaro Airport, which is right here, it's about an hour and a half trip into Arusha where I stay.
Or you can come out of the airport, which is right here, and this road right here if you take it south and follow it all the way to its end, it ends up right here. And this is the tanzanite mining area. It extends across here. Well, it's actually more like this. They say its four square kilometers, but I estimated more like six or eight square kilometers. There are four blocks.
At this end is D block. This is where tanzanite was originally discovered. C block is here, and C block is the major mechanized portion of the mine. It's owned by Richfield, which is a publicly traded company. Tanzanite one. All these buildings are theirs. And this is C block. B block and A block are down at this end. And these are being actively mined right now.
My friend is at D block. D block is the most famous portion of the mining. Not only was it the original, it produced many of the finest stones. So when you come in here and get through security, you follow this road down to his mine which is down in this area. I can't quite identify exactly which one it is. But this is in the middle of D block.
So we went down in his mine, which was very interesting, down about 1200 feet. From there we drove to where all the miners live, and that's here in Marelani. Marelani grew up primarily because of the mining. All the miners live here, and it proved to be a real interesting place to buy. Because the miners are partly paid in gems, and they have to sell them themselves. So you're actually dealing with the individual laborers, and they're selling their stones.
So we dealt in a car, because we were not really supposed to be here. So we spent the day in the car, and people passed those gems through the window. And I bought some very nice stones here. The only problem with buying in Marelani is the security risk. You're the only white guy in town. They know why you're there. You've got cash with you. You're giving out cash. So there is always that criminal element that could cause you problems.
So our next trip will be spent more buying at the mines and in Arusha, but it was really a great trip. So we deal with the miners. We cut our own stones. Come visit us at TanzaniteJewelryDesigns.com, or in Crown Point, Indiana. Our store name is Moriarty's Gem Art. Thank you.
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.