Tanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone. It occurs in only one place
worldwide. It is blue, surrounded by a fine hint of purple, and is a unique,
wonderful color. Thanks to its unusual color and the help of the New York
jeweler's Tiffany, it has rapidly become one of the most coveted gemstones in
It has been compared to Blue Velvet in
It is named after the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the
world where it has been found. On its discovery in 1967, it was enthusiastically
celebrated by the specialists as the 'gemstone of the 20th century'. They held
their breath in excitement as they caught sight of the first deep-blue crystals
which had been found in the Merelani Hills near Arusha in the north of Tanzania,
in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.
For a long, long time Tanzanites were
hidden from the eye of Man, until one day some passing Masai shepherds noticed
some sparkling crystals lying in the sun and took them along with them.
In April 2005, a company called TanzaniteOne Ltd. publicly announced that
they had taken control of the portion of the tanzanite deposit known as
"C-Block" (the main deposit is divided into 5 blocks). Prices for rough material
on the open market have increased steadily for the last several years as the
company has solidified its control of the market. They are
expanding their control to other deposits and apparently intend to be the
DeBeers of Tanzanite, and control a limited availability and an increased price.
is a blue variety of the gemstone zoisite. It consists of calcium aluminium
silicate and is not particularly hard, having a value of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs
scale. For that reason, it should always be worn carefully and never placed in
an ultrasonic bath for cleaning or brought into contact with acids.
When the first tanzanites were offered to the New York jewelry company Tiffany a
short time after their discovery, they sparked an enthusiastic reaction. 'This
gemstone is a sensation!', they said. However, they did make a recommendation to
give the 'child' another name, since the gemologically correct name 'blue
zoisite' was felt to be too close to the English word 'suicide'. So Tiffany's
proposed the name 'tanzanite', after the place where the stone had been found -
a name which quickly came into general use in the trade. And it was Tiffany's
who, two years after its discovery, presented the exclusive gemstone to the
general public with a broad-based advertising campaign.
A tanzanite will continue to fascinate with its unusual, captivating aura. Its
deep blue with the slightly purple tinge is one of the most extravagant colors
known to Man. It personifies immaculate, yet unconventional elegance. A person
who acquires one of these exclusive gems is someone who wishes to set himself
apart from the hoi polloi. A person who wears it exudes confidence and
individuality. The almost magical color of a perfectly cut tanzanite is one that
not only suits confident young women; it is also excellently suited to
underlining the individuality of the more mature woman.
In the meantime, almost any price you care to name is being asked - and paid! -
for tanzanites of good quality and large size. What makes this stone so popular?
Is it simply that fantastic color? No, it is also the exclusivity of its origin.
The stone is particularly highly prized because it is found in only one place in
the whole world. The idea of possessing something that not everyone has has
always been one of the main criteria in the way we esteem special gems.