TANZANITE FAQ

WHAT IS TANZANITE?

  • Tanzanite is one of the most intriguing and desirable blue, precious gemstones of modern times.
  • It is 1000 times rarer than diamonds.
  • Categorized under the mineral zoisite, which is abundant, but the rare presence of vanadium in Tanzanite, along with other geological conditions makes it rare.

WHERE DOES TANZANITE COME FROM?

  • Tanzanite is a rare gem found only in one place on earth, at the foot hill of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This area is also known as the Merelani Hills.
  • The area that is mined is 4 square kilometers.

HOW RARE IS TANZANITE? IS IT A FACT THAT IT IS BECOMING RARER?

  • It is 1000 times rarer than diamond.
  • Found in only in Tanzania in a 4 square kilometer area.
  • It is formed by a unique geological phenomenon, that has less than a million to one chance of being repeated. In short the world’s supply of Tanzanite will be completely exhausted in the coming decade or so.

IS TANZANITE A PRECIOUS GEM?

  • Three qualities determine whether a stone is precious. They are its beauty, durability and rarity, with rarity having far greater influence than either beauty or durability. Tanzanite possesses all three and is therefore a precious gem.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF TANZANITE?

  • “Tanzanite was formed approximately 585 million years ago, yet this remarkable treasure remained hidden beneath the earth’s surface until just 40 years ago, when according to local sources, a Maasai tribesman heading his cattle stumbled upon some crystals on the ground…the exact story is a mystery…They tell stories of how the land was set ablaze by a bold of lightning and believe that it was the heat from [it] that transformed crystals on the ground into shimmering blue-violet gems.” –TanzaniteOne.com
  • Discovered by Tiffany and Co. in New York in 1967 and named after its country of origin.

WHAT IS THE COLOR RANGE OF TANZANITE?

  • “In gemological terms, Tanzanite is trichroic, which means that when brought out of the earth, its crystals radiate three different colors: blue, violet and burgundy.” –TanzaniteOne.com
  • The blue color in tanzanite is due to trace amounts of vanadium.
  • Comes in a wide and varied range of hues, from velvety blue to an exotic violet.
  • Violetish-blue: more blue over violet.
  • Bluish-violet: more violet over blue.
  • Larger stones tend to exhibit the more vivid colors, while smaller stones typically showcase pastel shades.
  • Matching pairs are always greatly sought after, as it’s unusual to find two stones identical in color.
  • The more intense the color, the rarer the Tanzanite and the more expensive the price per carat.

WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION/HARDNESS OF TANZANITE?

  • Composition: Hydrous Calcium-Aluminum Silicate
  • Hardness: 6.5 to 7 on the Moh’s scale.
  • Not as hard as diamond which rates as 10 or a sapphire which rates as 9 on the Moh’s scale but harder than steel which rates about 4-5.
  • Should not be worn during impact activities. Tanzanite should be stored in a pouch or jewelry box, separate from other pieces of jewelry.
  • Tanzanite has a Refractive Index (RI) of 1.69, measured using a refractometer, which measures the amount of light rays that are bent by a mineral.

HOW POPULAR IS TANZANITE?

  • Tanzanite is one of the most popular stones of today due to its rich color along with the fact that it is available in larger sizes.
  • It is considered the most exciting gemological find of the 20th century.
  • The U.S is one of the largest retailers of Tanzanite where it can cost $1500 or more per carat.

HOW IS TANZANITE GRADED?

  • Top quality Tanzanite is graded as Triple ‘A’(AAA).

IS TANZANITE TREATED?

  • All tanzanite is assumed to have been heated to relatively low temperatures. This transforms it from its original dull brown colour [the predominant color before heating] to the beautiful and sought after Intense Violetish Blue. Totally accepted in the trade as it is natural, permanent and thus irreversible and stable.
  • “The pleochroic (the property of a crystal of showing different colors when viewed by light polarized in different directions) colors of unheated tanzanite are purple, blue and brownish to greenish yellow. In heat-treated tanzanite, the [brownish to greenish yellow color is transformed] from brown yellow to greenish blue to blue. By far, most Tanzanites are obtained by heating brownish ziosites at 400C to 700C for a short time; the color modification starts at about 400C but the process can be strongly accelerated at temperatures above 550C. the color was found to remain unchanged up to 1000C, when ziosite dehydrates and forms an opaque white to a feldspar.” –Incolor  Spring 2012, pg45        

DOES ENHANCEMENT BY HEAT LESSEN TANZANITE’S VALUE?

  • No it does not because all Tanzanite undergo permanent heat treatment so as to obtain their rich velvety blue color.

HOW DO I CARE FOR MY TANZANITE?

  • It is recommended that a soft cloth and warm soapy water is used to clean it in a gentle and controlled manner.
  • It can also be cleaned using jewelry cleaning solution along with a soft brush.
  • NEVER use an ultra-sonic cleaner.

IS IT LIKELY THAT IT WILL BE DISCOVERED IN ANY OTHER PART OF THE WORLD?

  • No. In fact it is said that there is a million to one chance that the unique phenomenon which created Tanzanite would ever happen again.
  • The precious gemstones supplies are expected to end in the upcoming decade.

DOES TANZANITE HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEANING OR PROPERTIES?

  • It is said to:
  • Uplift and open the heart.
  • It shows a graceful and gracious way to live.
  • It encourages the wearer to realize their own individual truth and is connected to eternal truths.
  • Activates the throat chakra for clear communication of one’s highest truth.

IS TANZANITE A GOOD INVESTMENT?

  • YES, DEFINITELY!
  • We are living in a time when one can still be the first time owner of Tanzanite. This is a privilege that will end soon.
  • Given its rarity, durability and dwindling supply, Tanzanite is one of the surest investments of our time.

HOW DO I VALUE TANZANITE?

  • Using the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Carat and Clarity.

WHY BUY LOOSE GEMSTONES INSTEAD OF PRE-SET JEWELRY?

  • It is much easier to inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.
  • Choice, you can pick the exact color, cut, share and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams be it yellow or white gold.