GIA Launches Gem Guide for Artisanal Miners

Gia logoNew York: The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is piloting a free gemology guide for artisanal miners in producing countries.

The aim is to offer basic gemological and market knowledge in regions where gem-mining takes place, the institute said Tuesday. The GIA has distributed the illustrated booklet – available in English and Tanzanian Swahili – to approximately 45 women miners in Tanzania’s Tanga region at no cost.

“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,” said Susan Jacques, the GIA’s CEO.

A team of GIA staff worked on the guide in consultation with colored-gemstone experts who have extensive experience buying gems in rural areas. The original idea came from James Shigley, a distinguished research fellow at the laboratory.

The pilot project, which the institute carried out in partnership with international development organization Pact, cost $120,000, all of which the GIA paid from its endowment fund.

Artisanal and small-scale mining accounts for about 80% of global sapphire, 20% of gold mining and up to 20% of diamond extraction, according to the World Bank. Last month, an artisanal miner in Sierra Leone discovered a 709.48-carat rough diamond, which is set to go on sale by international tender this week.