More bad news for tanzanite

What do you do, right before Christmas, when one of the most popular colored gems is linked to the terrorist organization which brought down the World Trade Center? Linda Buckley, public relations spokesperson for Tiffany & Co., Fifth Avenue, New York, says that Tiffany’s has suspended all sales of tanzanite because of the recent reports, including stories in the Wall Street Journal.

“While we have no reason to believe that any of the tanzanite we have bought or sold has passed through the al Qeada network, it’s troubling,” Buckley says. “Until the factual nature of this is established, we will hold off selling tanzanite.”

According to Buckley, tanzanite sales at Tiffany account for only a very small amount, 1/10 of 1%, of annual sales of $1.6 billion (or approximately $160,000).

On Friday, December 14, ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, aired a similar story to the published Wall Street Journal report on the Tanzanian blue gem and its link to bin Laden. According to ABC, U.S. retailers are not paying attention to the potentially damaging connection. “80 percent of all tanzanite is shipped to the United States, and some of the country’s biggest retailers, while saying they are seeking more information, continue to sell it-even as U.S. authorities investigate the links between this beautiful blue gemstone and the al Qaeda network.”

On the other hand, like Tiffany & Co., QVC pulled all of their tanzanite from the sales floor just after the Wall Street Journal report (See “QVC Suspends Sales of Tanzanite jewelry”).