Gemstones & Pearls/News
Tanzanite Warranties Announced in Tucson
U.S. also says no evidence found of a connection to terrorist groups
A crisis stemming from a reported link between tanzanite and the al Qaeda terrorist network was quelled in February when industry representatives and the Tanzanian government announced during the American Gem Trade Associations GemFair in Tucson that they would formulate a program of downstream warranties to guarantee tanzanites legitimacy.
As the new program was announced, Mike OKeefe of the U.S. State Departments Office of East African Affairs also said the U.S. had found no evidence that any terrorist group is using tanzanite to fund terror.
The so-called Tucson Tanzanite Protocol will go forward regardless of this news, says Douglas Hucker, AGTA executive director. The mere possibility that terrorists may be profiting from this gemstone, now refuted by the State Department, is abhorrent to us all. The program we are pursuing will increase transparency and accountability in all aspects of the trade.
In addition to the system of warranties, which will start with the first exporter and carry through to the retail level, the new protocol will ensure enhanced oversight, control and law enforcement for the movement of tanzanite from the mines to the point of first export. A cooperative effort by stakeholder governments and industry will back the new oversight efforts.
The group also endorsed long-term planning to promote greater economic development of all aspects of the gemstone trade in Tanzania. The protocol document was issued by the Government of Tanzania, all major Tanzanian and other international mining and trading associations, AGTA, Jewelers of America, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the American Gem Society, and Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.