Zambian Women in Miningon May 21, 2012
Citrine is golden in colour and known as the Merchant’s Stone as it is supposed to increase wealth – local lore tells us to put a citrine in the cash register and watch the money roll in! Red garnet will help you if your business is failing; you must just put a few red garnets on your desk and the problems will be solved. Amethyst is a purple stone which is said to keep a person of sober mind (the name comes from the Greek to mean ‘without drunkenness’). The blue aquamarine is said to protect you from gossip; with others saying that it helps you to relax on long journeys. Black tourmaline is for luck and happiness – the luck is enhanced when the stone is rubbed. A green emerald is the sacred stone of the goddess Venus and is thought to keep love alive in a relationship.
All these stones can be found in Zambia: amethyst from Mapatizya, emeralds from the Copperbelt, citrine and red garnets from Lundazi and aquamarines and black tourmalines from Itezhi-Tezhi. They are mined and brought to Lusaka, the capital, to be cut, polished and set in precious metals to make beautiful pieces of jewelry.
At Sun International Zambia’s resort, we have a shop located at the Activity Centre, which sells some of this jewelry. What makes this store even more special is that it is run by an association, Zambian Women in Mining. The association was set up in 2003, and brought together the women who were involved in the mining industry. Together they have grown their association to produce beautiful jewelry and to sell it in Zambia and abroad.
Some of the women own and excavate the gems, others work in the factory to produce the jewelry and even more women are employed in the shops to sell it. It is certainly an association which has empowered many women in our society. And, if that was not enough, the association also puts some of its proceeds aside for the care of vulnerable women and children, especially funding the children’s education.
When one of our guests goes home with a sparkling memento from this store, we know just how many people this purchase has benefited… and that it’s certainly not just ‘bling’!