Tanzanite Added to December Birthstones

November 7, 2002

Tanzanite Added to December Birthstones

The American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite to turquoise and zircon as a third December birthstone. AGTA has scheduled ads in consumer publications and has been working with other associations, such as Jewelers of America, the American Gem Society, and the International Colored Gemstone Association, to spread the tanzanite birthstone news.

Ads announcing the new December birthstone are planned for that month's Town & Country and In Style, in time to inform and influence shoppers. Retailers will be able to maximizeon the advertising by obtaining the same ad in postcard form. Retailers can get personalized postcards from AGTA to augment their holiday mailings.

"AGTA contacted us earlier this year and asked if we would consider adding tanzanite as a December birthstone," says Fred Michmershuizen, a JA spokesperson. "While our revised series of 'Gemstone Leaflets' already reflected this, we amended future 'What You Should Know About Birthstones' brochures. JA sees the addition of tanzanite for December as a way to build business. Any step that helps retailers sell more jewelry is a good one."

Tanzanite could use the boost. Some press reports late in 2001 and early 2002 said terrorists funded activities by trading in the gemstone, which resulted in some large chains suspending tanzanite sales for a time. Last February, the U.S. State Department issued a report saying it could find no evidence of such illicit trade. AGTA members dealing in tanzanite established a tanzanite fund earlier this year, part of which is being used to pay for the advertising campaign.

AGTA says the U.S. demand for tanzanite ranks second after sapphires.

For more information on tanzanite, contact AGTA at (800) 972-1162, (214) 742-4367, agta.org.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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