Dusty blue dreams

Text and photos by Johan Sävström

The blue gemstone Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania. Not far from Mount Kilimanjaro lies Mererani, where more than 70 mining companies operate within an area controlled by the government. Most of Mererani’s habitants live off the mines, and they all dream of finding the perfect blue stone that ensures a better life. Watch pictures from the mines in Mererani.

Awarded a travel scholarship by NAI, Audax Rukonge from Jyväskylä University, wrote a master’s thesis in 2006 about the mining community in Mererani, Tanzania (opens in new window).

Legend says that it was Masai cattle herders that first noticed this stone some 40 years ago after a fire caused by lightening burned areas in Tanzania. The herders noticed that brown zoiscite crystals had turned a deep blue-purple due to the heat from the fire.

Tanzanite stone

Film clip from Mererani, approximately 5 minutes long.

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