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Gemstones and Their Export Potential
The Wall Street Journal estimates the Global Gemstones Industry to be worth US Dollars 10 Billion. Kenya’s share of this lucrative market is not easily ascertained but as a Country we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in this sector.

The export of Gemstones has not established itself in Kenya yet we hold the distinct advantage of having a Gemstone named after a region in Kenya- the Tsavorite named after Tsavo National Park in Taita Taveta County where it is found. There are over 130 varieties of Gemstones worldwide but those that are widely recognized are:

1.    Rubies

2.    Sappires

3.    Emaralds.

In Kenya, a variety of Gemstones are found. The major distinction between these minerals is in their colour and a summary the varieties and their locations are as follows:

 

Gemstone

Description

Where Found

1.     

Rubies

Red in colour and one of the more valuable in terms of price

Tsavo, Baringo and Namanga areas

2.     

Sapphires

Variety of Colours ranging from Pink to Blue

Kitui(Pink), Garba Tula(Green ,yellow Blue),Baringo(Pink), Turkana(Blue)

3.     

Tanzanite

Blue, Purple or Slate Grey

Tsavo National Park

4.     

Tsavorite/ Green Garnet

Brilliant Green

Tsavo National Park

5.     

Tourmaline

Multi-colored and in every color of the rainbow and combination of two or three colors

Tsavo National Park

6.     

Amethyst

Purple/Mauve.

 

7.     

Lolite

Bluish –Violet Color

 

8.     

Alexandrite

Changes colour from green in day light to red in incandescent light

 

 

According to Statistics from the International Trade Centre, the major importers of Gemstones are US, China, India, Middle East and Japan. In Europe, The UK and Italy are the largest consumers. China and India are also expected to develop to be the largest consumption markets for both traditional and branded jewelry.

 Kenya can tap into this industry by ensuring it strengthens the value chain and ensures quality value addition to the mined product.

 

 
 
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