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Tanzanite, Ammolite, Korite and the marketing of gemstones
I was on a cruise once around the Caribbean and noticed lots of places selling Tanzanite jewellery, both on board and in the tourist shops on the islands. I listened to the pitches, telling how beautiful and rare these gems were, and how their version was the real thing, unlike the cheap tat you might get elsewhere.
In other travels, this time in Canada, the heavily-promoted 'gem' was Ammolite. I have also seen Korite, Amazonite, Csarite and Morganite in the same context. Again, they were twinkly or shiny stones that looked nice in the various settings available.
This got me thinking. Are there other '-ites'? A little searching says yes, indeed. Lots. So perhaps you could add your own. Find a nice stone. Polish it up and set in gold. Make up an -ite name (or perhaps an -ine one). And then sell the heck out of it.
Diamonds once were little more than a geologist's curiosity. Then De Beers cornered the key supply in South Africa and invented mandatory uses for them, such as in the solitaire engagement ring. When the Russians turned up with smaller stones, De Beers roped them in and invented the eternity ring. Their 'diamonds are forever' strapline, coupled with the marketing of diamonds as exclusive and luxurious, is brilliantly persuasive and one of the most value-creating phrases in history.
It's all in the marketing, of course, though it takes lots of money and courage to make it work, and for every rip-roaring success there are others that fall at the wayside. But in the end, it's all just rock.
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