Shopping for Tanzanite and Gem stones in Nairobi, Kenya

Being a gemstone centre in East Africa, Nairobi has quite a few jewelery and gem shops promoting varied gems however dealing in Tanzanite particularly. This text explores the quite a few pitfalls of shopping for Tanzanite in Nairobi and affords recommendation on what to search for.

Fraudulent Practices are prevalent within the Nairobi market

An article within the Nation Newspaper not too long ago highlighted the unregulated nature of the gemstone and jewellery trade in Nairobi and East Africa basically. Fraudulent practices are widespread with many gamers promoting inferior items to unwitting consumers pertaining to be the best qualities. With no Commerce Descriptions Act in Kenya, purchasing for Tanzanite, Tsavorite and gemstone jewellery could be very a lot a case of caveat emptor (purchaser beware). To keep away from being a sufferer, consider the next factors:

What to search for :

Gross sales speak versus truth: To start with, you will need to have some concept of what it is best to count on from respected sellers of gems. There are such a lot of “retailers” in Nairobi whose sole objective is to hawk gems for outrageous costs while purporting to be specialists and even “homeowners of the mines”. Nearly all of such claims are completely unfounded and downright false. Mining in East Africa is completed very informally by artisanal miners in some very distant areas. The channel of distribution usually follows the standard development of the miners promoting to established cutters and sellers who export to overseas markets or promote to native jewelery shops. Jewelery shops purchase from quite a lot of sources together with such sellers, the most typical being brokers. If a jewelery retailer purports to personal the mine and by implication, the provision, don’t be taken in by this – it’s pure hype and a whole misrepresentation. A good vendor can be extremely educated in regards to the gemology of the gems they promote and have the ability to reply your questions coherently and in depth. They need to carry some gemological to ascertain themselves as educated within the subject moderately than being purely retailers.

Gemology is an intricate subject and there are a substantial amount of synthetics, imitations and false gems on the market to danger shopping for from a vendor who will not be a gemologist. The times of having the ability to peddle stones with little information of them and count on to not get caught out with an artificial or imitation are lengthy gone. Tanzanite for instance, may be coated to reinforce its color. It has an artificial counterpart known as Tanzanique which seems precisely prefer it. How will you ensure you might be shopping for a real gemstone when the vendor themselves haven’t any gemological information or testing amenities?

The Gem stones themselves: My different Ezine article, “Tanzanite Buying Suggestions” goes rather more in depth into what to search for in Tanzanite in Tsavorite to distinguish between nice stones and decrease grades so I will not go into an excessive amount of element right here as it’s past the scope of this text. Nevertheless, basically, a layman can differentiate between nice stones and low grade ones just by utilizing widespread sense – the extra vivid and deeply saturated the colour, the finer the stone. The extra flawless the readability the finer the stone and infrequently neglected – the finer the reduce, the extra sensible the stone, the finer the standard. A lot of the shops I surveyed had been promoting medium to low grade items as high grade. That is completely unscrupulous. I might counsel studying my article on Tanzanite buying tips about Ezine to get a superb overview of what to search for. Additionally have a look at the underside of this text for a hyperlink to my website the place we record a number of very helpful academic instruments displaying you what to search for in a nice Tanzanite. It is rather straightforward to pay means over the percentages for a mediocre Tanzanite in Nairobi while being led to consider that you’re shopping for the best high quality.

AAA, AA, 4A, 5A: If in case you have been procuring in any of Nairobi’s jewelery shops you should have come throughout these phrases. I used to be dumbstruck by what number of shops fed misinformation utilizing these “grades”. The very first thing to know is that none of those phrases are precise gemological grades. AA and AAA had been phrases utilized by miners in early mining days to indicate the two high grades of Tanzanite – triple A is an especially deeply saturated coloration and is lower than 1% of all Tanzanite, double A is a shade lighter. I used to be angered to seek out many shops in Nairobi misrepresenting very mediocre materials as triple A, however much more angered to listen to such gross sales speak as “however we even have 4A and 5A – very particular and solely from our mines, nowhere else” at which level they produce some double A stones at ridiculous costs. 4A and 5A are simply made up hype – they’ve by no means been utilized by the trade and are merely phrases coined by retailers to hype their inventory.

It is best to search for sellers who situation correct gemological certificates carrying a correct scientific grade such because the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grading system. It’s all very nicely bandying round phrases like AAA however these are merely subjective phrases and they need to be backed up with correct grading utilizing a acknowledged grading system.

The shop itself: Do not be fooled by location – most of the shops I surveyed are situated in upscale malls the place they use their glorious retail location to hawk excessive volumes of mediocre items to unsuspecting consumers. This, by itself is okay however after they symbolize the products because the most interesting qualities when they don’t seem to be, and cost outrageous worth, then it merely turns into a type of fraud. I object enormously to this and by extension, the status it provides our trade. Once you enter the shop, search for an setting that seems skilled – is the shop an extension of a curio retailer with a service provider peddling a big array of curios with gems thrown in? Do the employees know gems, are there any gemologists to reply your questions? Clearly you wish to search for a retailer that gives this stuff and do not be persuaded to drop 1000’s of on an impulse – perform a little research first.

Costs: Probably the most outrageous issue gleaned from my survey was costs, particularly for Tanzanite. Some shops had been promoting medium grade stones (which they represented as “4A” or “5A”) for over $1000 per carat. That is outrageous for the native market (within the US market this is able to be extra regular). On the time of writing, even the very most interesting funding grade items (and I discovered zero shops truly promoting this grade regardless of their gross sales banter promising the earth) should not be greater than $780 per carat. That is for glorious slicing, flawless readability and the very most interesting color discovered within the high 1% of Tanzanites. Do not be fooled into spending loopy cash. Perform some research first.

All in all, the survey revealed a really excessive degree of fraud and fraudulent practices amongst sellers of Tanzanite and gems within the Nairobi space. With no governmental physique in place to control it, it truly is a case of caveat emptor (purchaser beware) if you end up purchasing for Tanzanite. Do your analysis, go to a number of shops and do comparisons and search for skilled and educated gemologists who’re capable of reply your questions totally earlier than shopping for.