NEW YORK — Zale Corp., the Irving, Tex.,-based jewelry chain, has suspended sales of tanzanite, due to possible links to terrorist networks. A memo on the company’s Web site explained, “Zale has taken this step out of extreme caution, not because we believe there is a connection or any proof to support these allegations. Zales is proud of its products and will not risk compromising our integrity or your trust in us.”

Susan Lanigan, Zales senior vice president and general counsel, conducted her own investigation of claims that proceeds from the sales of the blue violet gemstones were used to finance Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

The group’s gemstone trafficking was outlined during last year’s federal trial into the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Most widely recognized as the giant gem tossed overboard in “Titanic,” tanzanite is found only in northern Tanzania before landing in a maze of dealers, cutters and polishers mostly in India and Thailand.

Last fall QVC also removed tanzanite from its product lineup.