This stunningly beautiful gemstone is a relatively recent discovery, having been accidentally found in Tanzania in the 1960’s. The Tanzanite , named after the area in which it was found, is a deep blue color gemstone with purplish hues.
The Tanzanite has some similarities to a blue sapphire, but its main difference is in the way it has a double refraction of light that creates two polarised paths of colored light – producing blue to violet light at one end and violet to blue at the other.
Tanzanites are naturally brown Zoisite crystals that turn to a deep blue-purple when heated. They were originally discovered by Massai tribesmen who came across the Zoisite crystals that a brush fire had turned blue. They subsequently showed them to Manuel d’Souza, who was prospecting for rubies and he immediately saw the potential for mining the Tanzanite stones. In more recent years, the Tanzanite mining activities in this area have been run by the State Mining Corporation, who control the supply and distribution of Tanzanites.
Unlike other gemstones that are found in many other parts of the world, Tanzanites are only found within a small area in Tanzania.
The gemstones originate from the zoisite family of minerals and were formed from the volcanic eruption of Mt Kilmajaro. The distinctly beautiful violet blue Tanzanite color is derived from trace amounts of Vanadium and Chromium.
Since the gemstone’s introduction and promotion by the jeweler, Tiffany and Co, shortly after its discovery, there are concerns that the supplies of Tanzanite will eventually become depleted. For this reason, buying a Natural Tanzanite is viewed as a good investment.
However, since artificial Tanzanites are now being created – with stones being produced in Russia, it is important when buying a Tanzanite, to ensure that you are buying a Naturally derived gemstone from a reputable source.