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About Tanzanite

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The history and origin of Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone, discovered in 1967.  It is said that Masai tribesmen walking through the plains of Tanzania came across a stone that was seen to be hit with lightning.  This mineral was Zoisite and the mineral was a beautiful deep blue with a tinge of purple surrounding the center.  This new mineral was later named Tanzanite with the help of Tiffany’s and Co. and from this point on became a favorite of the jewelry marketplace.

Tanzanite comes from one place only, the mines of North Tanzania.  It is an extraordinary mineral in that it gives off a wonderful hue, most notably deep blue with a hint of purple.  However it can come in other colors as well including purple or brownish yellow. 

Some of the stones even include a trichromism effect, meaning they can reflect three different colors depending on the angle which you look at the stone.  Usually they include a purple, blue and yellow or green.

Tiffany’s made this gemstone extremely popular to the world’s gemstone marketplace and due to mainly its undeniable beautiful color; it has become a favorite around the world.  Because Tanzanite is rare and found in one place only, it can command high gemstone prices that sometimes rival or approach that of the diamond.

Tanzanite is marketed as the gemstone to give to a mother with a new born child.  The Masai of Africa believe that this stone brings life and Tiffany and Co. has marketed this idea to millions making it a great gemstone for new mothers.

 

What is Tanzanite used for?

Tanzanite is one of the newest gemstone to come to market and one of the more popular gemstones as well.  Tanzanite is used mainly for ornamental jewelry and as mineral specimens.  Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesmen.  It quickly was sold on the gemstone market for its beautiful hues and was marketed by Tiffany and Co. as the perfect stone for new born mothers.

Tanzanite is considered one of the most beautiful gemstones mainly due to its beautiful hue of blue that is surrounded by a tinge of purple. Tanzanite is very rare and so far only mined in one specific place – Tanzania.

Most Tanzanite gemstones are mined in relatively small mines along the northern Tanzania border.  While most Tanzania minerals found are very small, once in a while, large masses of Tanzanite are found.  The record so far is an unbelievable 16,000+ crystal that weighs more than 6 carats.  This Tanzanite crystal is easily worth millions of dollars.  Tanzanite, because of its rareness and beauty is very valuable, sometimes approaching diamonds for the very best color, size and attributes.

Tanzanite is relatively hard, but wearers should be cautious when wearing it in a ring setting.  Because it only has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 it can be cracked upon direct impact, it should also stay away from intense heat and even sonic baths.  However, for normal wear it is usually fine.

The most popular use for Tanzanite is for a present for mothers with new born children.  The Masai of Africa state that Tanzanite brings life and Tiffany and Co. have accented this characteristic in their marketing.

 

How and where is Tanzanite found and formed?

Tanzanite is an ultra beautiful gemstone that is very rare and full of attractive attributes.  This gemstone was found in Tanzania in 1967 and has become extremely popular around the world because of its wonderful hues, most notably blue encircled by a hint of purple.

Tanzanite comes from the mineral Zoisite.  It is made from calcium, aluminum and silica.  Tanzanite is only available in one distinct location, while it is known that specific trace minerals have caused the wonderful color of Tanzanite, it is not copied naturally in any other location throughout the world.  Zoisite can come in many colors; however Tanzanite is usually sold when it is either blue, bluish violet or blue with a hint of purple surrounding it.

Besides forming naturally, Tanzanite can be synthetically created.  It is interesting to note that when Tanzanite is created synthetically it is no longer has the mineral properties of Zoisite; it has different mineral properties called Fosterite.  Practically all Tanzanite is treated whether synthetically or natural.  It is usually heated with temperatures over 500 degrees Celsius.  This treatment process enhances the color of the stone and makes it perfect for any fine jewelry setting.

Today, Tanzanite is one of the more popular and valuable gemstones available.  It is said to sometimes command prices that diamonds do.  However it does have a few shortcomings including the fact that it is not that hard, with only a score of 6.5 to 7 on Moh’s hardness scale.  It can also lose its color to extreme heat. While normal wear and tear shouldn’t affect the color of the stone, it has been known to change slightly.

 

The colors, shapes and sizes that Tanzanite comes in

Tanzanite is one of the more popular gemstones around.  While it has only been discovered in 1967, it has been marketed heavily and well received by gemstone buyers around the world.  The reason for its demand is usually its undeniably attractive hue.  While Tanzanite does come in several colors, it is most famous for the hue of blue with a hint of purple that surrounds it.  A perfect natural stone, with this beautiful color can command extremely high prices, sometimes approaching that of diamonds.

Tanzanite comes in several colors including blue, violet, green and purple.  It should be noted that Tanzanite also exhibits the effect of trichroism, this means that sometimes three colors are present in the Tanzanite stone.  For instance, sapphire blue, violet and sage green can all be present depending on how you view and position the stone.

While Tanzanite can be difficult to cut due to the one way cleavage, it can be cut and shaped into endless shapes and sizes.  However, most consumers generally purchase the stones below 3 carats and in cuts that go well with rings.  Other favorite jewelry pieces for Tanzanite include earrings, charms, and bracelets. While great for everyday use, when wearing Tanzanite be careful of direct impact and extreme heats.  This can harm the stone.  It should also be noted that the vast majority of Tanzanite on the market has been treated, usually with heat to enhance the color of the gemstone.  This is normal and usually does not affect the price.