Kenya: How It Began 1977 (Continued…)

        Our two weeks in Kenya were coming to an end. The time we spent there was enlightening, educational and successful. We came to love this land of contradictions with its varied landscapes and cultures. The topography ranges from snow capped Mount Kenya to warm sandy beaches, from arid deserts to grassy plains.

        We had purchased rough and cut gems including tanzanite, and the elusive scapolite, in purple and golden colors. Our one big disappointment was that we were returning home without any tsavorite, a truly lovely and rare green garnet, named for Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Nature was not cooperating. Finding tsavorite was one of the main objects of our trip, but there just wasn’t any available. On the day before we left, we received a call from some miners, telling us they had located a tsavorite deposit and that they had a nice amount of rough for us to review. Nature had changed her mind. Our trip to Kenya was now complete. The lot turned out to be “gem my” – a term used by dealers to describe exceptionally fine stones – and sold immediately when we got home.

        “Going through exit customs in Kenya was a strange encounter of a different kind,” John recalled. “The agents were more interested in Laura’s I hot curlers than they were in us. They were curious about the machine, asked lots of questions and wanted to know how it worked. After we explained everything to the best of our knowledge, they let us board the plane.”

        Our mission to acquire East African gemstones had been successful. We were very proud of ourselves. We had ventured into a strange country, interacted with new people and survived a near disaster in the air. In retrospect, we were actually pretty lucky. The heady success of that first trip established a pattern. We couldn’t wait for our next call to adventure.


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