The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), in collaboration with Pact, a nonprofit international development organization, and the Tanzanian Association of Women Miners (TAWOMA), is now piloting a free gemmology guide for artisanal miners in producing countries.
According to the company, this comes as an effort to offer basic gemmological and market knowledge in the regions where gem mining takes place.
“This project is at the very core of GIA’s mission,” says GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques. “We are moving practical gemstone education as far up the supply chain as possible, to people who can benefit tremendously from greater understanding of the beautiful gems they bring to market.”
Last week, the GIA distributed the illustrated booklet, which is available in English and Tanzanian Swahili, to 45 female miners in Tanzania’s Tanga region. The total cost of the $120,000 project was covered by the GIA’s endowment fund.
The guide was created by a team of GIA staff, who worked on the guide in consultation with colored-gemstone experts. This group has extensive experience buying gems in rural areas, allowing them to offer the best possible advice to the miners. Dr. James Shigley, a distinguished fellow at the GIA, created the program.
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