Tanzanite Information Part 2
Tanzanite Information Part II
Tanzanite is one of the most unique and beautiful gemstones on planet earth! Tanzanite is also quite unique in the fact that it is only mined in one place in the entire world. Tanzanite is noted for its rich blue color highlighted by flashes of purple or violet. Primarily, this is due to the fact that tanzanite crystals form in the presence of the element Vanadium. The public immediately fell head-over-heels in love with tanzanite when it was first introduced by Tiffany's in 1969. Even though tanzanite is a relatively "young" gemstone in the vast array of gems that are currently available for purchase, it has become the gem to own in this present age.
Its name reminds of the world-wide unique occurrence in the east-African state of Tanzania. Africa - the name of this continent does not immediately remind us of gemstones. Nevertheless, Africa is a continent from where many splendid and beautiful stones find their way to the world markets. An example for this is Tanzanite, which was enthusiastically celebrated after its discovery in 1967 as "Gemstone of the 20th Century" The gemstone experts literally held their breaths when they were shown the first deep blue crystals mined in the Merelani Hi lls 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 for 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, to some extent by means of modern methods. Generally only smaller grains are being found, but now and then the miners strike a lucky vein and produce a larger crystal - much to the pleasure of the mine-owners and the numerous Tanzanite enthusiasts everywhere in the world.
The Tanzanite trade is managed by many, usually small-scale licensed traders who have built up good business relationships with gemstone firms in Germany, India, Israel and the USA. An estimated 90 per cent of all Tanzanite traders are registered members of the International Colored Stone Association ICA and thus dedicated to the respective high ethical standards of ICA. In this way, then this exclusive gemstone is not brought to the world markets via suspicious back-street dealers, but in spite of its rarity is distributed via reliable and trustworthy official channels to well-reputed gemstone-cutters, and then passed on to the most important jewellers all over the world.
Tanzanite... the blue Zoisite
Tanzanite is in fact the blue variety of Zoisite gemstone. The hydrated calcium aluminium silicate mineral achieves a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs harness scale. Tanzanite should be worn with care and not cleaned by ultrasonic method and never come into contact with acids. Mild soap and water works just fine for cleaning.
When New York Jeweler Company Tiffany was presented with the first loose tanzanites right after they had been discovered, they were immediately convinced: this gemstone is a sensation! However, they recommended finding a new name for the blue beauty, since the gemologically correct denomination "blue Zoisite" reminded unfortunately of the word "suicide". So Tiffany's suggested the name "Tanzanite" instead, derived from the place of occurrence, and the new name quickly became established on the market. And it was in fact the firm of Tiffany's who introduced the stone to the public in a spectacular promotional campaign two years after it had been discovered.Tanzanite... what amazing color!
Spectacular and magnificent is the deep blue of tanzanite, ranging from ultramarine to a light purplish blue. The most coveted color is a blue which shows a purplish hue shimmering around it, which is extremely spectacular in sizes above ten carats. Typical for tanzanite is the appearance of several colours in one and the same stone: depending on the perspective, the stone appears blue, purple, or a muted yellow when it comes out of the ground. Most rough crystals, however, show a disturbingly large proportion of brownish-yellow, but the cutter may cure this by carefully heating the stone in an oven to about 500°C. In the course of this heating , utmost concentration is demanded, for it is essential to determine the moment when the color turns blue. Heating is therefore a treatment which is generally accepted in the trade, however, the rough stone has to be as free of inclusions as possible, as otherwise the process will lead to fissures in the stone.
Working with Tanzanites is a task which will cause even experienced cutters to tread carefully, as the cleavage of the gemstone is very high in one direction. The exclusive stone is cut in any imaginable shapes and forms, from classical round cuts to imaginative designer cuts. Please see our section titled "Specialty Cuts" if this is more your flavor.
Tanzanite is always fascinating because of its unusual appeal that will hold everybody in its thrall. The deep blue with the slight purple shade is one of the most extravagant colors available. It symbolizes immaculate but unusual elegance. Whoever purchases such a unique gemstone wants to be set apart from the masses. Wearing it communicates self-confidence and individuality. The almost magical color of a perfectly cut tanzanite is not only attractive on young women, it also emphasises the individuality of a mature woman.
For Tanzanites in especially good qualities and larger sizes almost any price will be paid by now. What is it that makes this stone so coveted? Is it only the spectacular color? Well, it seems we must also take the exclusive origin into account here. As the stone is found on one special location only in all the world, it is especially valuable. After all, the desire to own something unique and rare has always been a decisive criterion for assessing the value of special gemstones.