This entry is a discussion of Dr Cedric Simonet’s recent article in the ICA Quarterly “In Color”. The article, entitled “Potential for Modernization of Small Scale Gemstone Miners – the Case of the Tsavorite Mines in Southeast Kenya” is republished in part in our Article Center with kind permission of Dr Cedric Simonet. The full article can be read on the ICA website. The extract can be read in our Article Center - Tsavorite article.
Dr Simonet’s article is enlightening as to the current state of mining extraction methods here in Kenya and also highlights the reason for Tsavorite’s hereunto limited penetration of the jewelry market despite its superb qualities as a gemstone, namely low production.
Two factors could change the status quo and propel Tsavorite forward to its rightful place as the premier green gemstone. The first is the entry of a large scale miner into the fray, bringing with it the ability to extract larger quantities of the stone annually. The second is the modernization of the many existing small scale miners to make their activities more productive. The combined effect would be to increase the supply to a hungry market and to stabilize supply. These are the 2 limiting factors currently restricting the gemstone at present.
There is some evidence that both these things are starting to happen. Tanzanite One, the largest and most sophisticated miner of Tanzanite has recently incorporated Tsavorite One as a subsidiary and has purchased the rights to a large part of the Tanzanian based Tsavorite reef. Secondly, via various bodies, including the Kenya chamber of Mines and governmental efforts, progress is being made towards providing small scale miners with the ability to obtain low interest loans to invest in machinery, coupled with further education in mining methods. This is very much in its infancy now but the signs are very encouraging. Tsavorite lovers and investors watch this space!
Lapigems Gem Company