Zale pulls tanzanite from stores

Zale Corp. removed from its display cases jewelry containing tanzanite because of its possible links to terrorism, The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday, Jan. 12.

The Irving, Texas-based jewelry retail chain pulled the rare blue-violet stones from its stores as of Jan. 1. Zale also is offering to take back any tanzanite products purchased from the store, the newspaper reported.

The decision was made after its own investigation of reports that proceeds from tanzanite sales possibly were used to finance Osama bid Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorism network, the newspaper reported. Zale’s senior vice president and general counsel Susan Lanigan handled the investigation personally. She reportedly said she believed that the corporation could not “comfortably” protect the Zale brand’s integrity.

Evidence presented in last year’s federal trial in New York into the 1998 bombings of U-S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania detailed Al-Qaeda’s traffic in the gemstone trade, including tanzanite. Four followers of bin Laden were convicted.

The move by Zale follows a similar action taken in November by QVC Inc., a large jewelry retailer that suspended sales of tanzanite jewelry through its website, retail outlets and television network.

Zale Corporation is North America’s largest specialty retailer of fine jewelry operating more than 2,300 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as online. Zale Corporation’s brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Zale Direct at www.zales.com, Gordon’s Jewelers, Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda.