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Interesting Facts

The 1960's saw the discovery of many new gemstone varieties in East Africa. It seems likely that the most significant of these discoveries was the discovery of Tanzanite in 1967 by Portuguese prospector Manuel d'Souza in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania in 1967, in the shadow of majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. This breathtaking location is the only known mining site on earth for the exotic gemstone which would come to be named "tanzanite". The stone was so named after its country of origin by Tiffany & Co. in New York, which introduced the gemstone to the marketplace in 1969. But no gemstone discovered in East Africa has had more of an impact on the world gemstone market than tanzanite. Today, only three decades after from its introduction, tanzanite has become the most popular gem stone in the world today after the "Big Four" (diamond, ruby, sapphire, & emerald).

Acute shortages have developed, as there is really but one source of this exotic gemstone. Very small deposits have been found in Kenya, but until recently were not considered large enough for commercial purposes. With the insatiable demand for and short supplies of tanzanite, even these small deposits are now being mined and have even been the source of armed disputes. But they contribute insignificant amounts compared to the demand for this rare gemstone. New mining techniques and the liberalization of the Tanzanian economy has helped to boost production in the past few years to make tanzanite more available than ever before in the history of the gemstone. But it remains supremely rare, significant production coming from only one place in the world, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tanzanite Gemstone Pear:

Gorgeous Sparkling Purple-Blue Tanzanite Faceted Pear 6mm*4mm - $39.99 #32201

Gorgeous Sparkling Purple-Blue Tanzanite Faceted Pear 5mm*4mm - $34.99 #32218

Gorgeous Sparkling Purple-Blue Tanzanite Faceted Pear 4mm*3mm - $29.99 #32239 - SOLD

Gorgeous Sparkling Purple-Blue Tanzanite Faceted Pear 4mm*3mm - $29.99 #32250

Gorgeous Sparkling Purple-Blue Tanzanite Faceted Pear 4mm*2mm - $29.99 #32255 - SOLD

Tanzanite is the velvety purplish-blue variety of the mineral species Zoisite. Its rich purples and blues often have a depth comparable to the finest sapphire. Paler tanzanite has a delicate periwinkle color. The source of its mesmerizing color is that tanzanite is trichroic; that is, it shows different colors when viewed in different directions. One direction is blue, another purple, and another bronze, adding subtle depths to the color. When tanzanite is found in the ground, the bronze color dominates. However, with gentle heating, the blue color blooms and deepens within the stone. According to legend, the affect of heat on tanzanite was first discovered when some brown zoisite crystals lying on the ground among other rocks were caught in a fire started by lightning that swept through the grass-covered Merelani Hills. Masai cattle herders in the area noticed the beautiful blue color of the crystals and picked them up, becoming the first tanzanite collectors.

The most valuable Tanzanite is medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet-blue. Some people desire the more purplish to violet Tanzanite shades which are more available and affordable. Rarely pure blue, the gem almost always displays signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, it tends toward lighter tones, with lavender the most common. In larger sizes, the gem typically displays deeper, richer blues and purples. It is this mesmerizing saturation of color that has made tanzanite so sought after. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Tanzanite delivers. If you can appreciate a gem that is unique, less known, and rare, since it is found commercially in only one place, Tanzanite is the colored gem for you. Ranging in color from a "sapphire blue" to an "amethyst purple", this very special member of the gem family delights its owner, and provides a great conversation piece with friends. A notable 122.7-carat faceted stone is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.