A small scale Tanzanian miner has hit the jackpot after discovering what are believed to be the two largest tanzanite gemstones ever found.
The Bank of Tanzania handed Saniniu Laizer a cheque for 7.74bn Tanzanian shillings (£2,670,139) after he found the two dark violet-blue gemstones, each about the size of an average forearm.
The stones were found in a tanzanite mine in the country’s north that is surrounded by a wall to control cross-border smuggling of the gemstones.
Tanzanite is found only in a small northern region of the East African nation.
The first gemstone weighed 9.27kg (20.43lb) while the second weighed 5.10kg (11.25lb), a government spokesperson said.
“Today’s event… is to recognize the two largest tanzanite gemstones in history since the beginning of mining activities in Merelani,” mines ministry permanent secretary Simon Msanjila said at a ceremony in Tanzania’s northern Manyara region.
Read more: Sky