Rocktober Gem of the Week: Tanzanite
Discovered in 1967, Tanzanite is one of the newest discovered gemstones and boy do we love it! As of right now, the only place that Tanzanite is found is in the hills of Merelani in Tanzania. The mining area that tanzanite is found in is only about 7km long and 2km wide. Named by Tiffany & Co in honor of Tanzania, where it was discovered, this stone has stolen the hearts of many. With its unique color of blue-violet, it is no wonder that it is growing so rapidly in popularity. The discovery was initially made by a Masai tribesman who stumbled upon a grouping of very transparent, violet-to-blue crystals that were sticking out of the earth and quickly told a local fortune hunter named Manuel d’Souza who registered immediately for mining claims. He had hoped that he had been shown a new sapphire deposit, but it ended up containing the newest gemstone to enter the world.
Tanzanite is part of the mineral family called zoisite, which naturally occurs in a wide range of colors including colorless, grey, yellow, brown, pink, green, blue and violet. When the color is blue to bluish-purple to bluish-violet, then the mineral is considered Tanzanite. Laboratory experiments have also helped to discover that adding heat to the stones can help enhance the color of Tanzanite, which is actually fairly common for most gemstones. With this discovery, they were able to heat brown and green varieties of zoisite to enhance the color to the Tanzanite color variety, which is what makes Tanzanite marketable now. They were able to pull together enough of the blue to violet colors to be able to sell to the mass market. Take a look at our Instagram this week to see some beautiful Tanzanite in natural form as well as set in beautiful pieces!