(Rapaport…February 25, 2002) Leading groups in the jewelry industry have formed an international organization that will be responsible for implementing the steps aimed at protecting the legitimacy of tanzanite outlined in the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol. The organization, dubbed the Tanzanite Task Force, will be led by a steering committee chaired by Douglas Hucker, executive director for the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), and it will include several working groups.
“These measures will protect the interests of consumers and the integrity of our industry,” Hucker said. “They are warranted even though there is no evidence to support media reports about such problems.”
The Tucson Tanzanite Protocol was introduced in Tucson on February 9 in response to allegations that the tanzanite trade benefits terrorist organizations. The steps outlined in the proposal include implementing a system of downstream warranties for traders who buy, sell, cut, polish, set or otherwise trade tanzanite, conducting an analysis of the tanzanite market to determine what improvements can be made to prevent abuse, and a mandate requiring traders to only accept tanzanite that is accompanied by a written warranty. Allegations of impropriety first appeared in a Wall Street Journal article published last November. Since then, Zale’s, Tiffany and QVC have suspended the sale of tanzanite jewelry.