This brilliant blue and purplish gemstone received its name from Tiffany and Company after they introduced the semi-precious stone to the market. Shortly after its discovery in 1967, the blue gems were marketed towards mothers with newborn children. Today, tanzanite gemstones are used in fashion jewelry, while loose gemstones are often sought for their supposed healing powers.
Where does tanzanite come from?
Tanzanite is extremely rare because it is only mined at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. The area where the precious gems are mined measures about 2.5 miles by 1.2 miles. Many of the gems that come out of these mines are small, making larger carat tanzanite gemstones significantly more valuable.
What does natural tanzanite consist of?
Tanzanite is a variety of mineral from the zoisite family and belongs to the epidote group. These particular minerals are made from calcium aluminum hydroxyl sorosilicate. The blue color comes from trace amounts of vanadium in its mineral structure. The blue or bluish purple color of natural tanzanite gems can be improved in a lab by heating the tanzanite stones to 600 degrees Celsius for a small amount of time.
What colors does Tanzanite come in?
The name "tanzanite" specifically refers to zoisite that has a blue to bluish violet color. Zoisite naturally occurs in a wide variety of colors, including gray, yellow, green, blue, violet, and even colorless.
Is tanzanite considered a precious stone?
Tanzanite gemstones are considered to be a semi-precious stone. Only diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are considered to be precious stones. However, this gemstone is one of the most popular blue gems on the market due to its unique color.
What is the use of blue tanzanite?
Natural tanzanite has three main uses.
- Healing: Loose tanzanite gemstones are associated with healing and balancing energy.
- Jewelry: This gemstone is also commonly used in certain types of fashion accessories due to its unique, vivid coloring. For example, it is commonly used in bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. It is usually not found on rings as tanzanite stones can scratch easily.
- Cabochons: Natural tanzanite stones that are of a lesser quality may be cut into cabochons, which are tanzanite gems that do not have facets. These are highly polished with rounded edges and a smooth surface.
What is pleochroism in loose tanzanite?
Pleochroism is a fancy term that means the gemstone appears to be different colors when you look at it from different angles. For example, some loose tanzanite gemstones can be blue when viewed from one crystallographic direction and purple when viewed from another. This property can make it difficult to cut facets into the stone, because pleochroic gems have intersecting crystallographic axes. For tanzanite stones, some planning is needed when faceting them to bring out a vibrant blue versus a duller blue color.