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Most gemstones have been around for centuries, but not tanzanite. It’s a newer gemstone that was discovered in the 1960’s. Initially, Maasai herders found blue crystals in the Merelani Hills near Arusha, Tanzania while they tended livestock. The herders notified a prospector named Manuel d’Souza who quickly registered claims with the government to begin mining. At first d’Souza thought he was mining sapphires, but soon discovered it’s a blue variety of zoisite - a mineral that’s been around since the early 1800s.
Tiffany & Co. envisioned this blue gem competing with the more expensive sapphire, so they became its main distributor. Instead of keeping the blue zoisite name, they named it Tanzanite as a nod to where it was discovered, Tanzania. Tiffany & Co. created a promotional campaign for Tanzanite in 1968.
Approximately two million carats of tanzanite were mined by the time the Tanzanian government nationalized the mines in 1971. In 1990, the government divided the mines into four sections, also called blocks. Tanzanite One Mining is the world’s largest tanzanite producer and holds the rights to Block C, larger than the other blocks combined.
In 2012, an independent study reported that Block C’s tanzanite deposits could deplete in 30 years at their production rate of 2.7 million carats per year.
Tanzanite has caught the eye of several celebrities in recent years, both in their personal life and on the big screen. Here are some famously worn tanzanites:
Jay-Z presented his wife Beyonce with a stunning blue tanzanite ring to honor their daughter’s birth, Blue Ivy. It’s a 10+ carat cushion cut of high-quality tanzanite.
The iconic necklace worn by Kate Winslet from the blockbuster Titanic was rumored to be a 28-carat heart-shaped Tanzanite and not a diamond because of its intense blue color.
In a past Oscar award ceremony, Anne Hathaway wore tanzanite and diamond earrings that complemented her blue Giorgio Armani dress.
Tanzanite is a rare, uniquely colored stone that stands out from other gemstones.
Like other gemstones, factors impact its quality, such as its carat weight, color, cut and clarity. The price per carat for tanzanite ranges between $100 and $800 depending on the quality. It’s helpful to understand the factors that influence the price of tanzanite, so you can determine which grade is most important to you.
LCarat weight has less effect on tanzanite’s value than other gems, such as ruby, sapphire, emerald, or diamond. Price per carat jumps at 1.00 carat, 2.00 carat and 3.00 carat. Prices per carat peak at 3.00 carats and they don’t change dramatically up to 20 carats.
Tanzanite’s color is one of the most important factors in its quality. Natural purple and blue Tanzanite is the most valuable as most Tanzanite is heat treated. Next to that, the most desired color is violet blue. Lighter blues and purples are more common and considered less valuable. Because of tanzanite’s pleochroism (the ability to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions) the cutting direction determines the gem’s overall face-up color. Another interesting aspect of tanzanite’s color is that it’s trichroic, meaning that in its rough form it radiates three different colors from each of its crystallographic axes: blue, violet, and red. Its chemical structure causes the double refraction of white light as it passes through it.
Cut brings the tanzanite to life–if it’s not cut well it can appear dead and lifeless–even if the color is stunning. It’s important to check the cut’s symmetry, because some are cut for weight.
Even if the color is beautiful, the stone can appear dead and lifeless. Difficulty in Setting - some stones cut for weight maximization can be more difficult to set due to thick girdles and bulky pavilions (backs). This can make it easier for a stone to be lost out of the setting. It also adds to the risk of breakage during setting.
Most tanzanites are quite clean and visible inclusions affect the value dramatically. Many of the tanzanite stones in fine jewelry have inclusions that can only be seen under magnification. If you notice any eye-visible inclusions, it’s a lower-quality tanzanite. Keep an eye out for any inclusions that might pose durability problems, such as fractures, because these significantly lower tanzanite’s value.
Tanzanite may not have the long history like other gemstones, but its rarity, increasing popularity, and its coveted color make this gem special. It’s said that tanzanite is 1000 times rarer than diamonds due to the fact that it is only found in one very small area of the world.
Tanzanite is a valuable gemstone because it’s a rare stone. It is only found in one area of the world. The price per carat for tanzanite ranges between $100 and $800 depending on the quality.
Tanzanite has collective value due to its scarcity. This gemstone’s value will continue to increase as the mine’s supply diminishes, which is expected to run out of tanzanite over the next decade.
Tanzanite is relatively cheaper compared to sapphire even though it’s more rare, and it looks like a sapphire. Tanzanite is a popular stone for jewelry collectors and is a good investment.
It’s a special gemstone known for its intense blue and violet color. Tanzanite is trichroic, meaning that in its rough form it radiates three different colors from each of its crystallographic axes: blue, violet, and red.