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The Incredible and Rare Beauty of Tanzanites

Tanzanite, with its brilliant violet overtones, is a rare gem that is often overlooked.  Part of the reason lies in the fact that Tanzanite is a relatively young stone.  Not young in geological sense, but young in the consumer sense.   Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in (yes, you guessed it!) Tanzania near Mount Kilimanjaro.  An interesting side note: Mt. Kilimanjaro happens to be the highest mountain in Africa and is the highest free standing mountain in the world.   But, getting back to gems, the Tanzanite deposit barely covers eight miles, making it a thousand times rarer than white diamonds.  The Tanzanite deposit is divided into four quadrants:  

tanzanite engagement ring

Blocks A through D, with each block referring to the area from which material is mined. Large quantities of the best material have been found in Block D so the term is linked with the top grade.   The fact that this stone is only found in one region in the world, as well as, Tanzanian government’s ban on export of rough stones for cutting to India has caused a recent increase in the price of this gem.  In the future as the gem gets closer to getting mined out the prices will most like increase even further.

Tanzanite has a similar hardness to an Emerald, but is less brittle.   Tanzanite in its natural rough state is a reddish brown color.   The beautiful blue violet color that we see showcased in jewelry actually is a result of an artificial heat treatment in a gemological oven.   Since all jewelry grade Tanzanites are heat treated it does not affect the price or grading of the gem.  The deep blue of the tanzanite runs from ultramarine blue to violet-blue. The most coveted color is a deep-blue 

surrounded by a delicate hint of purple. Tanzanite owes much of its beauty to an unusual gemological property called pleochroism - the ability to exhibit more than one color. When viewed from different angles, Tanzanites can look blue, violet, purple, bronze or even gray. This is because Tanzanite is a trichroic gem, which means it has three layers of color. Stones ranging between sizes of 4 to 5 carats and larger have been known to show the strongest blue color.

Despite the fact that this beautiful stone became available on the market only within the last 45 years and did not yet have a chance to become a symbol or a cliché, Tanzanites can be found in many fine jewelry stores. Tanzanites are popular with consumers looking for something unique and different.   Tanzanite engagement rings are a wonderful alternative to white diamond rings, as they have a less common and exceedingly exceptional look. In recognition of its popularity, in 2002 Tanzanite was added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. Tanzanite now joins turquoise and zircon as accepted birthstones for December. The list was last changed in 1912, making Tanzanite a very special addition.

The idea of possessing something that not everyone owns has always been one of the main criteria in the way we regard special gems. Tanzinite certainly fits that category.  If you are considering buying a Tanzanite make sure to price a few reputable jewelers.   Moreover, recently, a new color enhancement technique called “coating” has been found on some Tanzanites.  Coating is not universally accepted and is not permanent.  The jeweler/retailer must disclose to the consumer if the Tanzanite was color-coated. At Jewelry Point we only use Tanzanities that were heat treated as per industry standards. We never use coated gems as we feel that it is deceiving to the consumer and is not a good business practice.  Our Tanzanites do not have any cracks or bubbles.  We have been working with this exquisite gem for over ten years and are always happy to answer any questions and offer assistance and guidance in jewelry selection.  Take a look at our large selection of Tanzanite jewelry which includes designs with an antique look, modern rings with diamond halos, solitaires, and matching engagement sets.


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