Charm of Tanzanite on Display at Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show Hong Kong, Chinese mainland seen as Promising Markets For the Rare Blue-Violet Precious Stone from Africa

4 March 2016 The blue-violet tanzanite gemstone embodies a romantic and mysterious charm that is captivating global consumers. At present, the Chinese mainland and the United States are the world’s largest markets for the gem, which is only found in Tanzania. Tanzanite was the focus of a seminar held yesterday (3 March), at the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). During the seminar, a Tanzanite Foundation representative offered analysis of the development of tanzanite markets and spoke about the intrigue of the precious gemstone.

ACF_6143B35_9958Natalie Shah, Marketing Manager of the Tanzanite Foundation, said that tanzanite originates from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro where it was discovered by chance by Massai tribesmen in 1967. Commercial mining has since developed, and sales to European markets are picking up. Tanzanite is described as a trichroic crystal, radiating three different colours from three different crystal axes.

Sustainable mining advocated for the “rarer than diamond” gem

Ms Shah said the Tanzanian government has split the tanzanite mines into four blocks – A to D. There is little difference in the quality of gemstones from the four sections, she explained, adding that the supply of tanzanite is stable at present. However, tanzanite reserves are limited and they are declining due to continued mining, which makes the gemstone “more rare than diamonds”. A non-profit organisation founded in 2003, the Tanzanite Foundation aims to promote responsible tanzanite mining and educate global consumers on ethical sales practices for the sustainable development of the tanzanite mining industry.

In the past decade, Ms Shah said the foundation has joined forces with many jewellers in introducing tanzanite to the mainland and Hong Kong markets. “Tanzanite is widely popular in Europe and the US. We hope to bring tanzanite to more Hong Kong and Chinese mainland consumers for them to fall into love with the gemstone,” said Ms Shah. Currently a 3A grade tanzanite gemstone is valued at between US$1,800 and US$2,800.

The foundation is participating in the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show for the first time this year, with the Tanzanite Foundation set up to promote the gemstone to global buyers at the AsiaWorld-Expo.


Good sales potential seen in Hong Kong and Chinese mainland

To provide further insights into this emerging gemstone, Sunil Agrawal, Chairman and Managing Director of Vaibhav Global, an Indian jewellery retailer, explained that natural blue tanzanite is extremely rare, and most of the gemstones are treated for colour enhancement. “Heat treatment removes the brown hue from the stone and enhances its colour,” he said. Mr Agrawal also noted that heat-treated tanzanite stones turn blue or violet-blue, with both varieties being sought-after by different buyers. The difference in colour does not affect the value of the stone.

He added that the US and the mainland are currently the world’s largest markets for tanzanite, while strong sales are also seen in Europe and Japan. In view of this, his company is planning a tanzanite promotion campaign in the mainland, organising seminars and a book launch to enhance consumers’ knowledge of tanzanite. Newspaper and online marketing campaigns are also being planned, according to Mr Agrawal.

The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (1-5 March) concludes tomorrow at the AsiaWorld-Expo, while the 33rd Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (3-7 March) at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre ends on Monday.

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About the HKTDC

A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and services providers. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in overseas markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more information, please visit: Follow us on  Google+  Twitter @hktdc  LinkedIn