The Tucson Tanzanite Protocols

Members of the Tanzanian government, including Hon. Maokola-Majogo, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, showed a unified front with AGTA, Jewelers of America, and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee by endorsing a joint proposal called the Tucson Tanzanite Protocols. Other organizations endorsing the document include the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association, the Arusha Regional Miners Association, the Tanzanian Chamber of Mines, the American Gem Society, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, International Colored Gemstone Association, Jewelers Association of Jaipur, and the Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association. During the summit, it was mentioned that the U.S. trade accounts for approximately 80% to 90% of the world’s market for tanzanite.

Concrete steps outlined in the protocols are designed to strengthen controls in Tanzania and to create a system of downstream warranties for all traders who buy, sell, cut, polish, set, or otherwise trade in tanzanite. This should protect the legitimacy of the supply chain and restore confidence in tanzanite. The protocols were created and agreed upon Feb. 8, in a closed-door meeting during the AGTA Gem Fair and announced the following day.

“We have an obligation to consumers and to our own consciences to take practical, effective measures that will assure confidence in tanzanite,” says Douglas Hucker, AGTA executive director. “The mere possibility that terrorists may be profiting from this gemstone-[a claim] now refuted by the State Department-is abhorrent to us all. The program we are pursuing will increase transparency and accountability in all aspects of the trade.”

The Tanzanian government plans to remove all illegal, undocumented miners, as well as build a containment fence around the entire mining area, to attempt greater control of the mineral’s path into the jewelry industry.

AFGEM responded positively to the protocol. Spokesperson Joanne Herbstein said, “Unity within the trade, as well as the unwavering and unanimous backing of the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol, has assured the entire industry of the integrity of tanzanite and has given us further assurance of the security of our investment.”

The protocols read as follows:

TUCSON TANZANITE PROTOCOL
RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN TANZANITE

TUCSON, ARIZONA
FEBRUARY 9, 2002

The Government of Tanzania, The American Gem Trade Association, the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association, the Arusha Regional Miners Association, the Tanzanian Chamber of Mines, the Jewelers of America, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the American Gem Society, the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, the International Colored Gemstone Association, the Jewelers Association of Jaipur, and the Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association, all trade associations representing the full international scope of tanzanite miners, gemstone dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and the retail jewelry industry in the United States, which accounts for 80% of the world market for tanzanite.

Met and agreed to the following:

Recognizing that: · While it is now confirmed that there is no evidence to support allegations of an ongoing connection between the tanzanite trade and smuggling to support terrorism, we abhor the mere possibility of such a link and believe that recently published allegations warrant action to restore confidence in tanzanite;

· The tanzanite trade provides widespread economic benefit to many people in Tanzania and elsewhere, and promises increased economic benefits to all in the international community who mine, trade, cut, polish, set and sell tanzanite;

· The government of Tanzania has taken and continues to take significant steps to safeguard this gemstone by licensing both those who mine it at the source and those who trade within Tanzania, and by designating what is currently the sole tanzanite deposit as a controlled access area in order to ensure the integrity of the legitimate sources of tanzanite and realize the economic benefits of the internal trade within Tanzania; and

· A cooperative effort is needed to provide assistance to all of the countries and persons involved in this trade through a shared approach to improve transparency and accountability in the supply chain, thereby providing the widest possible protection of the legitimate stream of commerce in this gemstone;

The above named governments and associations commit, with the endorsement of the U.S. Department of State, to the following concrete first steps to institute a practical and effective means to eliminate concerns about the tanzanite trade, its alleged connection to funding terrorism, and to restore confidence in tanzanite:

1. A detailed ongoing analysis of the market chain for tanzanite to determine what improvements can be made to prevent possible abuses in the manner in which this product is brought to market;
2. A cooperative effort among governments and industry to strengthen and maintain a system of oversight, control and law enforcement for the movement of tanzanite from the mines to the point of first export in order to protect the legitimacy of the trade;
3. A system of warranties, in cooperation with the government of Tanzania, provided in writing and used by first exporters and all those in the downstream chain of commerce, which will state that the tanzanite bought, sold, cut, polished, set or otherwise traded came from legitimate sources;
4. Implementing the Tanzanian government’s new plan to establish Export Processing Zones (EPZs) which anticipates the inclusion of the tanzanite industry in the EPZ scheme as a priority;
5. All subsequent traders after first export should only accept tanzanite that is accompanied by the appropriate written warranty; and
6. Sellers of tanzanite, or jewelry containing tanzanite, should require the appropriate written warranty from their suppliers.

Instituting these steps will provide the basis for consumer assurance needed for this gemstone. Moreover, we believe that long term planning to promote greater economic development of all aspects of the gemstone trade in Tanzania will have the added benefit of encouraging the integrity of the trade. Therefore, we will implement the concrete steps outlined above and participate in long term planning for economic development along with international agencies and Tanzanian representatives.