Gem Dealer Says Afghani Gems Can Help Needy

November 13, 2001

Gem Dealer Says Afghani Gems Can Help Needy

In an appearance on "Good Morning America" last week, gem dealer Gary Bowersox told host Diane Sawyer Americans should continue to buy gemstones from Afghanistan and neighboring regions – not only because of the gems' beauty. He says Americans would be supporting Afghanistan's needy, who use profits from sales of the gems to survive. Also, Afghani gems are largely controlled by groups in northern Afghanistan, such as the Northern Alliance that support U.S. efforts to overthrow the Taliban.

Bowersox is president of GeoVision Inc., based in Honolulu, HI, and has traveled to Afghanistan for decades in search of lapis lazuli, rubies, emeralds, aquamarines, kunzites and other gems mined in the region. Bowersox told Sawyer he continues to aid the Northern Alliance by sending it a portion of his profits and by advising about mining techniques. "We are working on projects for the future and we believe this is a way to promote these people so they create an income, foreign exchange and taxes for their new government," he said.

Bowersox also said he is advising the U.S. Department of Defense about areas that may contain minefields and the vast network of caves that riddle the Hindu Kush mountains in northern Afghanistan.

- by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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