Embarking on an extraordinary journey of knowledge and discovery, students from J K Diamonds Institute of Gems & Jewelry recently had the privilege of experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime International Study Tour to Africa. Specifically, the tour took them to Tanzania and Zambia, where they delved deep into the mesmerizing world of gemstones, exploring Tanzanite mines and Zambia’s largest emerald-producing mine, Kagem Mines. Let’s unravel the fascinating insights gained by these aspiring gemologists during their enriching adventure.
Day 1: Discovering Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The journey kicked off on November 14, 2023, with the students landing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Their first day was filled with invaluable experiences, starting with a visit to the Ministry of Minerals. Guided by an official, students gained insights into the intricate procedures of exporting gems, the associated charges, and the formalities required to become a registered dealer for Tanzanite gemstones. Noteworthy was the revelation that the export of Tanzanite could only be done through registered dealers, and a 7.3% VAT was applicable.
The students also had the opportunity to meet local gemstone dealers, witnessing firsthand the vibrant gemstone market. Their day concluded with a visit to the Tanzanite Museum in Arusha, where they learned about the geological uniqueness of Merelani hills, the only place in the world where Tanzanite gemstones are found.
Day 2: Journey into the Tanzanite Mines
The following day brought a thrilling adventure as the students visited the Merelani Tanzanite mines. With special permission granted by the government and under the dedicated efforts of Mr. Jaynil Ajmera, Director of J K Diamonds Institute, the students delved into the heart of the mining zone.
Dressed as miners for safety, the students traveled deep into the earth’s surface in a motorized cart, reaching the Tanzanite-rich areas. The expedition provided them with a hands-on experience of the mining process, and some even unearthed Tanzanite gemstones, showcasing the institute’s commitment to practical learning.
Day 3: Arusha Market and Gemstone Buying Experience
In Arusha market, students honed their negotiation and bargaining skills while interacting with dealers, members of the Masai tribe, and local African people. The market presented an opportunity for hands-on stone buying experience, with a diverse range of gemstones available, including the renowned Longidoor rubies.
Exploring Zambia: Unveiling the Secrets of Kagem Mines
Day 1 in Zambia
Moving on to Zambia, the students stayed in Kitwe, where their primary destination was Kagem Mines, Zambia’s largest emerald-producing mine. An orientation session provided details on yearly production and extracts, emphasizing India and China as major consumers of Zambian emeralds. The mining zone was highly secured and there was a need to secure many permissions to reach this mining zone wherein a lot of scanning and security measures were conducted. In fact after enter the mining area, here photography was also not allowed. After entering the mining area, an induction was conducted where details about extraction of emeralds, auction procedures, and other important factors such as production etc were talked about in great detail. Here also details regarding safety measures, mines volume, social responsibility of the mine etc. were discussed. After this discussion, students had to dress up in a miners suit, and travel to the mining area in the official mine vehicle as you can’t use a private vehicle. There were also various protocols to be followed while being at the mine. In Kagem, students of J K Diamonds Institute had the opportunity to visit the special mine pit, that had the best quality Zambian emeralds. In fact, the best part was that the miners here shared a lot of crucial information, as to how exploration is major part of the process, exploration costs, how there are host rocks that show possibility of emeralds and its a expensive procedure to find good quality emeralds. It is only after this process that a huge place was discovered, and after visiting this place we were provided the crucial information about the pre and post processes of mining.
Day 2 in Zambia: A Glimpse into the Emerald Trade
The eagerly awaited second day in Zambia took the students to brokers holding vast amounts of emerald gemstone stock. Students gained hands-on experience handling kilos of emeralds, understanding auction procedures, and delving into the complexities of grading, sorting, and pricing different qualities of rough emeralds. . These are in fact some of the big challenges of the gem trade that students were lucky to learn about and it is indeed very rare to learn such aspects from the real world. Additionally they also got exposure of auctions, bidding, and the formalities involved, along with the the barriers to gemstone trade. Such exposure was indeed an eye-opening moment for the students of J K Diamonds Institute to get an in-depth look into the world of Gemstones.
J K Diamonds Institute’s International Study Tour to Africa was not just a journey; it was an immersive exploration into the heart of the gemstone trade. From Tanzanite mines in Tanzania to the emerald-rich landscapes of Zambia, the students were exposed to the real-world challenges and intricacies of the gemstone industry. This unique experience will undoubtedly shape their understanding and appreciation for the world of precious gemstones as they embark on their careers in gemology.