A Gem Story from Malawi, Africa
Many of our clients enjoy knowing the complete story behind the beautiful jewellery in our showcases. We share their passion for ethically sourced gems, and learning the process of jewellery making is fascinating in its own right (see our recent ‘Journey of the Pearl,’ for example).
We’ve enlisted our good friends at Roger Dery Gem Design to share more about how they ethically source minerals from Malawi, located on Africa’s east coast, just north of Mozambique.
In Malawi, the mining industry began by chance when farmers found rhodolite garnets among their corn furrows after rainstorms. Interestingly enough, many still believe that gems fall from the sky with rain.
Farming has been the single most important industry in Malawi for centuries, but today, the farming industry backs the mining industry. In between the busy farming seasons, farmers prospect for gems that may be covered from previous rains.
Miners use basic farming tools for digging gems in the fields and use the seasonal benefits to drive both occupations.
Whether in formal training sessions, under a tree seeking shade from the relentless African sun, or at the buying table with dealers, Malawians are hungry for knowledge and craving education.
Roger Dery reports that in recent years they discovered there was a wealth of garnet, tourmaline, aquamarine, apatite, and quartz in Malawi, and that their sapphire and ruby findings appear extremely promising for the future.
Because the mining industry in Malawi is still young, not many identify themselves as miners. Those who do, are resilient in facing failure, and hopeful for the future of their gem industry.
Malawians have a deep-seated belief that there is a wealth of gems to be found within their borders, which will go a long way to adding prosperity to this developing country.