The Tanzanian shepherd Masaai tribe found rough crystals of a brilliant blue stone at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro and regarded them as a magical object which would bring them good fortune. In today’s gemstone market it is interesting how this belief is much the same!
First they were mistaken as a shard of glass, and later a variety of sapphire, but after vigilant examination it was concluded that this brilliant blue gem was a member of the zoisite family.
This blue zoisite was christened tanzanite after its place of discovery and was introduced to the gemstone world by New York’s Tiffany and Co.
Tanzanite’s unique properties, color saturation, rarity and immense popularity set it apart from any other gemstone in the world.
Only a few decades after its entry into the jewel market tanzanite sales and demand hit the roof and broke right through! Such rampant popularity is rare, and soon led to tanzanite being the runners up on the popularity list of colored stones in the United Stated of America.
One of the most important and loved properties of a tanzanite gem is its color. A high grade gem needs to have the perfect balance between saturation and tone. Saturation is the degree of intensity of the color, and tone is the darkness or lightness of this hue. A perfect tanzanite must have a very high intensity of color but a medium tone so that the sparkle isn’t hindered.
Its royal blue color is not only stately and regal, it also happens to fit any occasion. A tanzanite is known for its flexibility in use, which is one of the main reasons it is loved by fine as well as fashion jewelry designers. As far as fine jewelry is concerned, this deep blue fits perfectly with the grey tinge clear diamonds which in turn accent the tanzanite. This same relationship is used in fashion jewelry. Affordable rings and studs as well as statement making chandelier earrings and pendants for special occasions very often set with tanzanite’s and clear zircons. The deep blue hides flaws, which makes it easy for designers to use stones which aren’t necessarily flawless but still striking.
The tanzanite blue has been proven time and again as a stone that fits into any ensemble; it either complements or contrasts every other color in the spectrum. Be it bold summer dresses or office greys, tanzanite blue adds the right amount of vitality.
Ever heard of pleochroism? It is a property of a crystal where in it exhibits varying colors from different angles – and you guessed right, tanzanite is one of the very few pleochroic gems in the world; the base blue is added to by flashes of violets and crimsons.
Tanzanite is a 6.5 to 7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, making it just the right hardness to cut into intricate shapes. The downside is that it needs a little extra care, but it is totally worth it to see that shining blue!
Still unsure about a tanzanite’s brilliance? Go see one for yourself at the local jeweler and it will certainly be love at first sight.