Discover The Source


Tanzanite Direct is unique: we are the only online store that can pinpoint the exact mine of origin of our tanzanite, and guarantee each gemstone’s provenance, authenticity and ethical status.

Most other gemstones in the world are mined by small-scale miners, which makes their source almost impossible to trace. To give you an idea of the scale: many artisanal miners consider themselves lucky to find even a handful of gems a month. Once the miner sells their rough gemstones to the local gem merchant in the nearest small town, the merchant usually separates the gems by color and size, and mixes them in with other similar-quality rough gems from their inventory, before selling them on again. The gemstone supply chain is so long and fractured that by the time most stones reach jewelry stores, even their country of origin is unknown.


The Journey Of Your Jewell
Going Underground. Some shafts reach 800 meters below ground - making the mine one of the deepest gemstone mines in the world.
Geologists map and navigate the underground using a compass
Working underground at such depths is difficult, dirty and very hot work   – but a world class infrastructure is put in place to secure the shafts, provide air supply and dewaterring -  to ensuring the safety of the mine workers, and to ensure that the tanzanite can be extracted  productively.
The comparatively soft graphite and host rocks are easily broken away – without recourse for blasting (which would shatter the tanzanite crystals) – and are carefully removed by hand and taken to the surface for sorting
On the surface the excavated material is taken by conveyor belt to the plant, where it is washed and sorted using an optical sorting machine.
Tanzanite being washed on the conveyer belt , on its journey to the sort house. Graphite is found in abundance at the mine - and coats everything in a silver grey dust.
After being are cleaned and weighed, unwanted materials (ie. non-gem matter) are removed by gently chipping them from the gem crystals, in a process called cobbing.
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Pliers are also used to nip away the host rock from the tanzanite crystals.
This is one of the largest tanzanite crystals ever found at the mine - and weights over several hundred carats.
Beautiful example of rough tanzanite, with all the host rock removed and held up to the sort house window to show off its beautiful colour. The deepest tanzanite colours only 1% of the world’s tanzanite production.


Our tanzanite comes from one of the largest operations in Merelani, which is also one of the deepest gemstone mines in the world. Some shafts reach 800 meters below ground. Working underground at such depths is difficult, dirty and hot work  – but a world-class infrastructure has been put in place to secure the shafts and provide ventilation, lighting and dewatering. Unearthing precious gemstones is a delicate business, and although there have been significant advancements in the methods used, several stages are still done entirely by hand.


The camp facility includes staff accommodation, kitchen and dining hall (where all meals are provided), and recreation areas. A medical clinic operates on site, and the mine staff have access to emergency evacuation services and hospital care in case of a serious incident.

Aerial view of the tanzanite mine where all tanzanite on this site is extracted.  The mine shaft is at the front- with workers accommodation behind it on
the left and operations buildings visible on the hilltop in the distance.
Operations rooms, radio tower, kitchen, dining room, guest accomodation, and more staff accomodation
Human Resources Department and Geology Department.
The onsite clinic is staffed with full time nurse , who also travels to surrounding areas when required.


Our tanzanite is obtained following established labor laws, ethical business practices, and without the use of child labor. The mine helps support its three hundred workers by offering above-average wages and on-site health care. Our operation has also contributed to the local community by helping build a medical clinic and water purification plant, as well as upgrade a nearby elementary school. The mine supports the local economy, provides significant tax revenues to the state budget, is an important local employer and an example of fair trade principles in action.


The water used at the mine is reclaimed and recycled. The earth extracted from the mine supports replanting of drought-safe native tree species, encouraging the return of wildlife to the area.

We offer responsibly mined tanzanite – with safe working conditions and environmentally responsible principles. Tanzanite gems and jewellery accompanied by our certificate are guaranteed to have been ethically mined and polished under conventions of the Tuscon Tanzanite Protocol, Tanzanian employment law and the United Nations ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). Additionally we have controlled every step of your tanzanite’s journey – from the moment it was unearthed to the day it is sold as a gem or piece of jewellery –  and strict safety policies/ procedures have been adhered to at every step.