While cleaning up photos on my computer I came across this interesting one.
I am always looking for ways to bring my customers rough even when I’m not able to travel to the source. Sometimes I employ locals in that effort. Usually the arraignment is to provide room and board and then a percentage on top of any stones they can source.
Here is the budget for providing room and board to a local buyer in Mahenge Tanzania.
The amounts are in Tanzania Schillings and are equal to around $400 U.S. The budgeted amounts are provided to me by my buyer, as I honestly have very little understanding of local cost of living. But one glance can see how inexpensive it is. Notice the line item for family…they are always taken care of.
Things don’t always go according to plan….the results of this effort? Zero stones and lots of frustration.
Often I make reference to Garnets being “Color A”, “B” or “C” and so I wanted to make a quick demonstration post showing what that means.
In Tanzania, particularly in the bush- garnets are sold, depending on openness of color, as A, B or C
As nature would have it, upwards of 90% of garnets are “Color C”….maybe 1% make it to “Color A”…but when they do, hold on to your hat!
On the left is an example of “Color C”. It’s big and dark and will always be that way (There is no effective treatment for garnets)
Sometimes, a thick skin is hiding a “B” or even an “A” color and so the white paper test cannot always be trusted. A good example of this are Umba Garnets. They have a thick skin that once removed reveals a gorgeous red/orange color “B”
Next is what I consider “Color B”…it will still cut a lovely garnet but caution must be taken when cutting larger gems because the bigger “Color B” garnets get, the more likely they are to go dark after cutting.
3rd from the left is what I would consider between color A and B…it is a very fine Malaya and is a gorgeous stone in its own right
The last 2 garnets are firmly in the “Color A” category. They are a totally open purple and are as rare as hen’s teeth