What is Tanzanite and Why is it So Popular for Engagement Rings?

Of the blue gemstones, Tanzanite and Sapphire are the most-loved. Tanzanite is instantly recognisable for its unusual beauty and characteristics. It has a similar stunning appeal to a Sapphire, but a lower price point.

Tanzanite comes in a rich variety of tones, from blue to violet, to deep purple. The range of saturations, hues and lustres mean that there is something for every blue gemstone lover.

So, What is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is unique because it can only be found in one place on the planet — Tanzania. For this reason, it has been discovered only recently, compared to other gemstones.

Tanzanite is formed from blue zoisite. The colour of the crystals changes depending on how they are viewed. Different angles reveal different shades of the stone, from violet to purple, to blue. The cutting process creates the unique spectrum of each crystal.

Tanzanite is the birthstone for the month of December, along with other beautiful blues such as Turquoise and Blue Topaz. It is traditionally given as a gift on the 24th wedding anniversary.

The History of Tanzanite

Discovered over just 50 years ago, Tanzanite is a newcomer to the constellation of coloured stones. The very first Tanzanite crystals emerged from the earth naturally in northern Tanzania, in a spot where the soil was worn away by weathering. A Masai tribesman chanced upon the cluster of dazzling violet crystals exposed in the bare earth in Merelani. Together with local fortune-hunter Manuel d’Souza, they registered four mining claims to extract the very first Tanzanite from the earth.

Although they originally hoped for Sapphire, they had actually discovered the world’s newest gemstone at the time.

More claims rapidly sprung up in the area, as everyone wanted to lay their hands on these beautiful and mysterious crystals. The gemstone went on to be named after its homeland by Tiffany & Co. and would compete with some of the most popular gemstones in the world for the crown of popularity.

Caring for Tanzanite

Compared to some other gems, Tanzanite can be considered a soft stone. It scores 6 to 7 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale. This makes it comparatively softer than the 10/10 of Diamonds, the hardest gemstones in existence. Ultimately, this simply means that Tanzanite can be scratched on heavy use or if worn inappropriately.

With careful wearing and proper gemstone care, Tanzanite can last a lifetime, like any other crystal.

Tanzanite is commonly heat-treated, which transforms the stone from brown to purple or blue. This creates a stable colour and does not reduce the durability of the stone.

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