Tiffany & Co.: Tanzanite is back in the case

It looks like tanzanite is on the rebound as the well-known retail giant put the blue gem back on the buy/sell list.

“Based on lack of credible evidence linking tanzanite and terrorism as well as progress to further controls over trade in tanzanite, Tiffany & Co. has resumed the sale of jewelry containing this gemstone,” said Tiffany public relations director Linda Buckley. With no fanfare, Tiffany & Co. quietly had tanzanite jewelry back in the show cases a few weeks ago.

Some colored stone wholesalers have told JCK that tanzanite should have never left the show cases, since no one pulled diamonds when they were found to be supporting terrorism in Sierra Leone. But following the Al Qaeda/Tanzanite alleged connection written in the Wall Street Journal last October, major retail jewelers, including QVC, Zale Corp., and Tiffany & Co., suspended sales of tanzanite. Mike O’Keefe, representative from the US State Department has repeatedly told the jewelry industry since February that there is no evidence that any terrorist organization is currently funding its operations from the sale of tanzanite. Curiously enough, it was Tiffany & Co. that gave tanzanite its name when it was originally discovered back in the late 1960s.

“The decision by Tiffany and Zale to embrace tanzanite is a result of the industry working together to transform, regulate and revitalize the tanzanite trade, with the support of trade organizations, the Tanzanian government and the US government,” said Joanne Herbstein, a spokesperson for AFGEM, the South African mining firm that currently leases Block C, a large portion of the Mererani tanzanite deposit. AFGEM plans to launch an international marketing campaign once steady production has been achieved, presumably sometime over the next few months.

In more broad reaching consumer tanzanite news, Boscov’s Department Stores is now advertising tanzanite jewelry for sale. In the Sunday July 7 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Boscov’s Exton Mall store has announced its world’s largest exclusive Arusha Tanzanite gem show and sale.

Boscov’s, founded in 1911, is a family owned Reading, Pa., company that today has 38 stores in 5 Mid Atlantic states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York).