Major Gem and Jewelry Associations Respond to Tanzanite Allegations


November 30, 2001

Major Gem and Jewelry Associations Respond to Tanzanite Allegations

"We take very seriously the recent report in The Wall Street Journal alleging a link between the overseas trading of tanzanite and the outlaw al Qaeda network," says a press released issued by five major U.S. gemstone and jewelry industry associations. "This report presents entirely new information not previously known within the industry. If any portion of this report is substantiated, the industry will take appropriate measures to ensure that the U.S. gemstone and jewelry industry is in no way tarnished by such criminal transactions. As representatives of ethical jewelers we are determined that our members businesses not be conduits for gemstones that – long before they enter the U.S. – are alleged to have been a source of income for criminals and terrorists."

Jewelers of America, the American Gem Trade Association, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the American Gem Society and the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America drafted the joint statement. Miners associations, jewelers and some international gemstone organizations have already responded to the allegations.

The industry associations also report they consulted with appropriate federal agencies in Washington, DC, as well as with Tanzanian government representative. In addition the associations say they pledged full cooperation with national and international efforts to investigate the charges to put an end to any potentially existing tanzanite/terrorist links.

But the industry groups also caution that if any of the allegations are substantiated regarding criminal behavior, they will seek cooperation from the U.S. in pursuing the matter. "In light of President Bushs campaign to cut off funding from many sources for the al Qaeda network, we urge the administration to act vigorously on this new report to determine its validity and to pursue remedies as may be appropriate," the release says.

The industry groups say they are contacting retail and wholesale members through direct mail, urging them to adopt a new purchasing guideline to be signed by the business purchasing tanzanite and by the tanzanite supplier. It is called the Joint Association Member Guidance on the Purchase of Tanzanite. The measure is expected to reassure jewelry manufacturers who buy tanzanite from U.S. dealers. The full text can be found below.


- by Robert Weldon, G.G.


Dear [Tanzanite Vendor]:

As a member of [Jewelers of America, American Gem Trade Association, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, American Gem Society, Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America], we fully support a policy of not purchasing tanzanite from any sources connected with any criminal or terrorist activity.

Since it is not currently possible for trade buyers in the United States to verify the legitimacy of origin of tanzanite, they must work closely with their gemstone and jewelry suppliers to ensure that they do not knowingly purchase tanzanite that may be in any way tainted by its connection with terrorists.

Accordingly, we are asking you to commit that you will not knowingly or intentionally sell or buy any tanzanite with known links to illegal activity and that, to the best of your ability, you will undertake reasonable measures to help prevent the sale and purchase of tanzanite with known links to illegal activity.

Yours very truly,



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