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Comprehensive Gemstone Information

 

Tanzanite - Tantalizing Gem

Introduction

Tanzanite Jewelry Tips

Value Considerations

Therapeutic Properties

Identification of Tanzanite

Introduction

Tanzanite is a modern gemstone. The gem was discovered in the shadow of Mt. Kilamanjaro in 1969. It was called zoisite. Zoisite was transparent  and has a naturally reddish brown color. It was found that this gem can be heated to a stable blue to violet, the mesmerizing color of modern Tanzanite.

Legend says that Masai cattle herders on East Africa's savannah plains discovered the gem after lightning strikes revealed brilliant blue jewels. The world's only source of tanzanite is the deposits in Tanzania, East Africa.

This exquisite form of zoisite was named tanzanite by New York's Tiffany jewelers and it was celebrated as "Gemstone of the 20th Century.” It has now become the second most popular color stone in America, second only to sapphire!

The gemstone experts literally held their breaths when they were shown the first deep blue crystals mined in the Merelani Hills near Arusha in the north of Tanzania. Millions of years ago, metamorphous slates, gneiss stone and quarzites shaped impressive flat insular mountains on the wide planes near Mount Kilimanjaro. In the core of these unusual rises there are stored the valuable crystals. For a long time they remained hidden from the eyes of men, until one day some Massai-herdsmen passing by noticed crystals sparkling in the sun and picked them up.

Today at Merelani the popular crystals are searched for in several, usually smaller mines.

Naturally trichroic, tanzanite shows different colors when viewed through each of its three crystal axes: blue, red-violet and yellow-green.

The majority of tanzanite must be heated to create this color. Usually stones are cut and polished prior to heating to about 700 degrees Fahrenheit, when the yellow-green color is converted to deep blue. A very small fraction of Tanzanite rough heat treats to a green or blue green color which are grabbed by collectors. In the trade, all Tanzanites are assumed to be heat treated and the color is stable.

Tanzanite is the birthstone for December.

Tanzanite Jewelry

Tanzanite is sometimes confused with sapphire. In fact, in the early days, the lure of Tanzanite was that it was a lower cost alternative to Sapphire. Because of limited supply and the fact that it is only available from Tanzania, the price of Tanzanite has gone steadily up. There are lot of synthetics in the market. People also sell kyanite and amethyst disguised as Tanzanite to capitalize on the demand for Tanzanite.

As mentioned, Tanzanite is now the second most popular selling colored stone in the US. Tanzanite and elegance are synonymous. You can buy different jewelry incorporating Tanzanite.

One word of caution regarding the use and care of Tanzanite jewelry. Tanzanite is quite fragile; it has hardness between 6 and 7 on the Moh’s scale. Compare this with Tanzanite and Sapphire which has hardness of 9. Tanzanite is also very brittle. For this reason, be very gentle with this exotic gem. Do not use  ultrasonic cleaners to clean the jewelry with Tanzanite.

With an appropriate setting and some care, all kinds of tanzanite jewelry including Tanzanite rings will provide their wearers with endless pleasure. Daily wear will dull the finish of the gem. Jewelry in the form of bracelets, earrings, and necklaces are preferred over rings. Wear tanzanite rings only when you are going out and do not wear it for day to day use.

Tanzanite earrings, bracelets, and necklaces will go well with amethyst rings. Dazzling as Tanzanite earrings and Tanzanite necklaces, this rare gemstone speaks volumes about the wearer’s personality and sense of style.

Next: Value Considerations

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Loose Tanzanite gems

Jewelry with Tanzanite

[Tanzanite Page 1]  [Tanzanite Page 2]

See Also:

Products with Tanzanite

Therapeutic Properties of Tanzanite

Gemstone Infocenter Home

Gift Selections incorporating Gemstones

Guide to Caring for Gemstones

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