"If your mantelpiece is already filled with rows of stones it may be time to invest in something a little more sophisticated."
Have you ever been tempted to buy a stone at a petrol station in Windhoek, at the coast, in Uis, Outjo or Keetmanshoop? Ever wondered if indeed it was precious? Maybe this is a diamond and I will be in trouble, or get rich quickly? Can a tourmaline really be such a deep pink? Isn’t it normally green? Why do they wrap it in tissues and the salesman offers it almost as if it is something you don’t want to see? And then you notice the man has rough hands and although he is a smooth talker in the language he thinks will soften you up, you say “show me”. And then you are in trouble. Why oh why didn’t we take our grandmother’s display cabinet when we had the chance?
Then things improved for the salesmen at petrol stations. The number of white double cabs with roof top tents increased year on year and they had to stop for fuel in every town. Eventually, when the boom reached a tipping point, the wives and offspring of the miners became the salespeople and the display moved to a table under a plastic shade cover along the busiest routes close to the mountains where these stones treasures are found and chiselled from the rock.
As more white double cabs, small sprinters and touring trucks started to discover Namibia, a proper structure was put up in the perfect location to catch most of the traffic to the coast.
As you drive westward, pass through Usakos and start the long steep climb, look out for the Spitzkoppe to your right when the road levels out again. At the turn-off to Henties Bay is a small settlement in the making and an interestingly designed structure where women sell the gemstones.
It is worthwhile spending some time there to get an idea of the sheer variety and abundance of uncut gemstones mined by small miners in the mountains of the Erongo Region. Also to talk to the local people who make a living in the desert and to enjoy their stories and knowledge. But the biggest plus is that you can really browse until you find something extraordinary.
If your mantelpiece is already filled with rows of stones it may be time to invest in something a little more sophisticated. Something that women can wear. A crystal on a string or a chain instead of sitting on the mantelpiece. That is what the Mine Stone Project accomplished.
It created a value chain of miners, cutters, jewellers and retailers to bring authentic pieces of jewellery to the market at affordable prices.
If you buy a Mine Stones you can be sure that it is what the label says: it is sourced legally and fashioned artfully by an artisan.
Sold in a recognisable box at lodges, craft centres and retailers, your Mine Stone purchase will be more than just a piece of jewellery. It carries with it the energy of a long line of individuals who brought it from the mountain to the jewellery box.
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