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May-June 2018

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Tanzurine, Cherry-Red and Emerald-Green Quartz from Tanzania

Following the 2017 Denver mineral and gem shows, one of us (JSW) received a small package in the mail from close friend Elaine Rohrbach. In it were four small quartz pieces, two pink and two green. Rohrbach had obtained them from Jonathan Bartky of Ariel Treasures, one of the dealers at the Denver Coliseum show. Bartky was selling these pink or red and green rocks as tanzurine after the country of origin, Tanzania, a name he coined and has patented. Bartky is a joint venture mining partner of the consortium that is mining and marketing tanzurine. Most mineral collectors are aware that Tanzania in the region around the city of Arusha has, over the past half-dozen or so years, been producing an amazing array of different minerals in remarkable amounts and in heretofore mostly unequalled quality in the case of many species. Much earlier, in 1967, in the Merelani Hills near Arusha, gem-quality blue-violet zoisite was discovered, which a little later was given the gem name tanzanite. The locality has continued to produce tanzanite to this day, with some of the most extra-ordinary crystals having been mined in recent years.


John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Loretta D. Dickson is an associate professor of geology at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where she teaches crystallography, mineralogy, and optical mineralogy.

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