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GIA develops free gem guide for artisanal miners

The GIA has launched a free Gem Guide for artisanal miners in association with NGO Pact and women’s mining communities in Tanzania.

The recently launched pilot scheme has been designed to test the effectiveness of a new rough gem guide, offering basic gemmological and market knowledge in gem-producing regions. The illustrated booklet, available in English and Tanzanian Swahili, was distributed to approximately 45 women miners in the Tanga region of Tanzania.

GIA president and CEO Susan Jacques commented: ”This project is at the very core of GIA’s mission. 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.”

The content and form of the booklet, Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners, was developed by a team of GIA gemmology, market, education and design staff working in consultation with coloured gemstone experts with experience buying gems in rural areas. The project, originally conceived by GIA distinguished research fellow Dr. James Shigley, is part of the Institute’s mission-driven effort to share gem information and related skills throughout the supply chain.

All costs for the pilot – approximately $120,000 – were paid from the GIA endowment fund. GIA provided the booklet and training at no cost; the booklet will remain free of charge as the Institute expands the training to other small scale rural miners in East Africa later this year.

A seven-person GIA and Pact team traveled to the Tanga region of Tanzania in January 2017 to conduct training with the booklet for approximately 45 women miners of the Tanzanian Association of Women Miners (TAWOMA).

GIA manager of photography and visual communications, Robert Weldon, commented: ”Because the booklet is very visual with explanations in Tanzanian Swahili, the miners immediately recognized the practical applications and how they can benefit from this easy-to-use information. It was incredibly fulfilling to see how sharing GIA’s extensive gem knowledge could directly impact the daily lives of artisanal miners.”

 

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