The world’s largest piece of rough tanzanite, well over six pounds, was discovered in a mine in northern Tanzania, a mining company said Wednesday.
The discovery was made about 885 feet underground at TanzaniteOne Ltd.’s Bravo Shaft, the southernmost shaft of the world’s leading miner and marketer of tanzanite. Weighing in at 16,839 cts. (well over six pounds) and measuring 8.6 inches x 3.15 inches x 2.8 inches, the rough tanzanite piece is impressive in both size and structure, and according to known records, is the world’s largest single piece of tanzanite to have ever been mined, the company said.
The company named the piece “The Mawenzi” after Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak. “We were reluctant to name it Uhuru, after Kilimanjaro’s highest peak, on the off chance that a larger piece is ever found,” said Ian Harebottle, TanzaniteOne’s president and COO
No value has been placed on gem. TanzaniteOne said it plans to analyze and evaluate the piece before any final decision is taken on the possible cutting and polishing of individual tanzanite gems from this crystal. The company is considering putting The Mawenzi on show before cutting and polishing.
Ami Mpungwe, TanzaniteOne’s deputy chairman said the find is comparable to what the Cullinan Diamond is to the diamond industry and that the stone will be cut and polished in Tanzania.
“It is only fitting that The Mawenzi is cut and polished here in Tanzania,” Mpungwe said. “We expect to produce some truly exquisite gems from it, some of which we will put on display at Tanzania’s National Museum.”
Pictures of the crystal will be available on the company’s Web site www.tanzaniteone.com.