Tanzanite, the hugely rare bluish, violet aubergine coloured gem comes filled with spectacular colour. Sparkling brilliantly under the reflection of the sun these vitreous yet memorable bluish plum coloured gems are only a recent discovery.
Mined exclusively in Merelani near the popular Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in the late 1960’s these gems were unknown to the gem world. No similarities to the cornflower Blue Sapphire left gemologists perplexed. After days of in-depth gemological analysis, these transparent bluish purple gems were found to be close relatives to the bright, opaque green species called Zoisite. Christened by Tiffany’s, Tanzanite represented their exotic origin developing their own name within the industry. Tanzanites soon became well known for their exceptional colour, quality, and brilliance and are popular even today.
The most favourable colour seen within these gems is a Blue to a Violetish Blue hue. Some valuable gems even tend to sport vivid Purples. Birthstone for the month of December, although predominantly a cooler colored gem, Tanzanites lend a sense of warmth with the gem’s reddish-purple tones during the winter months.
Did You Know
The Blue Diamond that Kate Winslet wears with grace and confidence in the Titanic was, in fact, a heart-shaped lustrous Tanzanite.
Here is how you Spot the Right Tanzanite
- Passionately coloured by Vanadium, Tanzanites have a strong Bluish Violet to Bluish Purple bodycolor. A little more purple as compared to a Blue Sapphire or an Iolite
- Most gems are heated to some degree to improve body colour, often leading to fractures within the gems. Fractures and melted fingerprints are a common sight when your checking the identity of the gemstone
- Patches of vibrant colour could be telltale sign of heating, but natural origin
- Eye clean gems although available at higher prices are also available on the market
- Jaipur is a major cutting hub for these aubergine wonders
- Pleochroic, in nature these gems display a bluish color in one direction and a violetish in the other.
- With pleochroism comes Double Refraction, and is easily distinguishable against a glass or a plastic simulant. Look out for doubling at facet junctions.
- Easily available in standard sizes from pale violets to vivid bluish purple.
Noteworthy Tanzanite Properties
Tanzanites have seen a progressive growth curve since they entered the market. Well-demanded amongst jewellery designers and gemstone addicts, these rare gems take on new life when set within highly reflective metals. A masquerading beauty a Tanzanite complements both silver toned metals and warmer golden hued metals exceptionally well. An impeccable choice for jewellery, Tanzanite’s superior hardness makes it a good pair with gems like Rubies and Diamonds.
A factor we might often take for granted is that colour can greatly influence our thoughts and feelings. These royal indigo treasures bursting with life, are sure to offer a calm, composed outlook thanks to the gems soothing bodycolour.
Surrounded by undeniable demand, these rare African gems as with any other natural gem cannot always be perfect. Thus leading to thermal enhancement as I spoke of before to improve the natural colour of the gemstone. Often heated from a brownish green to a glamorous bluish violet, it isn’t a surprise why Tanzanites have sprung to high demand.
Caring for your Gem
Owning a valuable gemstone might be enough but caring for it is equally important. As a gem that comes exploding with colour, the safest way to care for your precious Tanzanite is with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush. Using the brush to remove dirt and grime, the soapy water helps wash away any residues leaving a sparkling gemstone.