Taita Taveta County is home to a host of many coloured stones which are used for making make jewellery and other adornments. The gemstone deposits are located within the Mozambique Orogenic Belt which bisects Kenya in a North-South Direction. It is estimated that Taita Taveta County has over 500 gemstones mine sites which produce a variety of high and middle-value gemstones including:
Ruby mainly the cabochon and corundum grades
Garnets which include the Green, Red, Pyrope and Spessartite varieties.
Tsavorite, also called the Green Garnet is the most mined coloured stone in Taita Taveta but it is becoming increasingly hard to find.
Tourmaline stone with colours ranging from Golden Yellow through to vivid Green
Sapphires which include the Blue, Yellow and Pink varieties.
Gemstones have been mined in Kenya for many years. Sapphires were first discovered in the 1930s in Kinyiki Hills in the Eastern Region. The Tsavorite was discovered in 1970 in the Tsavo National Park in Taita Taveta in the South East region of Kenya. The gemstone was named by Tiffany and Co. Jewellery Company in honour of the Tsavo National Park which is one of the largest game reserves in the world.
Mining of gemstones is primarily done in the drier areas of the County where valuable stones such as Tsavorite, Ruby, Tanzanite and Tourmaline can be found, these areas are arid and semi-arid not quite suitable for agriculture.