December’s Alternate Birthstone: Tanzanite

mined raw tanzanite with blue, grey and white tonesDecember’s Alternate Birthstone: Tanzanite

Where is Tanzanite Mined?

As you may have guessed, tanzanite is named for its discovery in the country of Tanzania on the eastern shore of Africa. What makes tanzanite so rare is that Tanzania is the only place in the world where this gem has been found! So if you were hoping to find your own tanzanite somewhere in Arizona, we’re sorry to disappoint you but luckily this gorgeous blue and violet  stone is exported throughout the world and we have some lovely pieces right here in our Gilbert showroom.

Brief Tanzanite Background

Unlike many other birthstones, tanzanite was a fairly recent discovery so although it doesn’t have a rich history or folklore, it’s quick rise in popularity is remarkable in itself! Discovered near Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967 by Manuel d’Souza, a tailor and part-time gold prospector, the stone was identified as a type of zoisite. In 1968, Tiffany & Co. began a marketing campaign and named the gemstone ‘tanzanite’ as a tribute to its one and only mining location. The beautiful hue of the stone along with the promotion by Tiffany’s has made tanzanite the second most popular blue gemstone in the world!

The Color Range of Tanzanite

On the rare side of tanzanite are the naturally occurring deep blue and violet hues which are the most valuable. The range of color goes from a vivid blue-violet or violet-blue to the more affordable lighter blues which are in larger supply. Nowadays, most tanzanite is heat treated to help bring out the stone’s naturally dominant blue or purple tone. Sometimes the heating is done naturally in the ground and this yields the more precious and naturally dark bluish-violet stones. Usually the heating is safely done in labs and is so prevalent that it is usually assumed that any tanzanite stone for sale has undergone this process and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has stated heating has no effect on the quality of the stone just the brilliance of its color!

Color of Tanzanite: Blue or Violet

Variations on Color: strong vivid blue to light blue and violet to bluish-violet

Birthstone Month: December

Wedding Anniversary Year: 24

So whether you love the color blue or celebrate a December birthday, tanzanite is a gorgeous choice for any jewelry lover. As always, we enjoy sharing our jewelry knowledge with you and if you have any jewelry related questions call or visit our Gilbert showroom so we can help!


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