Tanzanite Tidbit



Tanzanite is an exotic velvety blue gemstone that has a rich purple overtone color.  It is a gem like no other!  Tanzanite is only found in one place in the world.  The remote foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. 
Tanzanite was formed in the earth over 500 million years ago.  Discovered in 1967 by an African tribesman from the Maasai.  He found some crystals on the ground while he was herding his cattle.  There is also a story of how a bolt of lightning hit the ground and the heat from the magic light created sparkly blue violet­­­­­ tanzanite crystals that lay where he walked.
When Tanzanite was first found it was thought to be blue sapphire.  The blue crystals were then analyzed and found to be more complex then sapphire.  The rough crystals also had an exotic and alluring blue violet color.
The Tiffany Company, a jeweler in New York, heard about the discovery of this new gemstone in Tanzania.  Tiffany was the first jeweler to offer this new gemstone to the world.  They named the new gem Tanzanite after Tanzania where this beautiful gem was discovered.  Tiffany claimed Tanzanite to be "the most beautiful gem to be discovered in over 2000 years."  Tiffany also claimed that you could only find Tanzanite in two places in the world, Tanzania and Tiffany's.
Tanzanite has a unique blue color and it is a trichroic gemstone. This means that it will show three different colors when viewed at different angles.  You will usually see the colors blue, violet and burgundy.  Some Tanzanites will show royal blue, indigo and violet. This gem is usually heated to increase the blue, violet color.  This is a very gentle and stable process.  Majority of Tanzanite rough is found in a root beer color and heated to become the rich blues and purples.
Tanzanites come in a variety of blue colors.  Light blues, lilacs, violets, indigo and vivid blue violets.  Tanzanites even come in yellow, pink and green.  Tanzanite is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The blue, tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple.  Tanzanite in smaller sizes, tend to be lighter in shades of lavender and periwinkle. Large Tanzanites 5 carats and more show a more intense, rich color. 
Care for your Tanzanite:
Never clean your Tanzanite in an ultrasonic cleaner or a steam cleaner.  I recommend using a drop of ivory dish soap in warm water and gently clean with a soft cloth. 

As with any gemstone you purchase, buy from a reputable person who will guarantee the authenticity of your gem and disclose to you any enhancement or treatments that have been done.

Linda McMurray, G.G., A.J.P.