Gemstone Expo in Taita Taveta

I was recently in Mwatate in Taita Taveta County and got invited to the County’s first ever Gemstone Expo by Thamani Gems. The expo had been organized by the Tsavo Mineral Organization and the Taita Taveta County Government.  This was an initiative taken to market the County’s gemstones as well as get buyers, sellers and investors together for opportunities to develop the gemstone industry. DSC_0050     DSC_0065 DSC_0070    DSC_0080 What fascinated me is the amount of raw gemstones that the expo had that are found in the county that I am sure many Kenyans do not know. There were Rubies, Red garnet, Emeralds, Moonstone, Tsavorite and Okenorite which are unique to Taita Taveta County and many other stones whose names I could not get- do not judge, I am not a gemologist or a geologist! DSC_0033   DSC_0034 DSC_0040   DSC_0035 Anyway with all this mineral wealth on display, it got me wondering why some of the sellers and in general folks in the county had not been reaping big on the gemstones. This I was told was because of the lack of standardization of gemstone quality and regulations to govern the industry. And as a result, most of the miners and sellers get swindled by middlemen and also lose out on getting fair prices for their gems driving some of them to even trade in the thriving gemstone black market. DSC_0041    DSC_0042 DSC_0048   DSC_0047 Another major hurdle most of the miners are facing is lack of better equipment for mining, assessing the quality of the gems as well as cutting and polishing the stones. This makes them have to sell most of the stones in raw form for less while they would be in a better position to get more money if the stones were cut and the carats and quality assessed and prices standardized. DSC_0045  DSC_0084 DSC_0085  DSC_0087 With all these excuses flowing around about why the gemstone mining industry in Taita Taveta County is sketchy, I hope the government will actually do something about it because this is a major resource that the country is losing out on and I am sure if Kenyans can get these amazing stones from home, they would not have to spend so much money on having to buy gemstones from abroad! Just to put into perspective the quality of these gemstones, Taita Taveta rubies  are of the same quality as Burmese rubies so that should show you how major this industry is! DSC_0088   DSC_0089 Hopefully by the next gemstone expo in December this year, the gemstone industry situation in Taita Taveta County will be on the way to improvement!

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2 thoughts on “Gemstone Expo in Taita Taveta

  1. the ttc govt had advertised sometime ago for expression of interest for international concern to developed a fully fledged exploration. mining .cutting .grading and marketing infrastructure unfortunately thats the last i heard of it the havent kept us in the loop on the progress if any in fact the expo is an initiative of thamani

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