TANZANITE - THE RARE GEMSTONE
The Tanzanite is mined in a small area in the Mererani (aka Merelani) Hills area that is only 14km2. Over 585 million years ago, a geological phenomenon took place in what is now known as the Pan-African event. Mt Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley were created as continents shifted. Minerals far below the surface were compacted in the process, thus the birth of the Tanzanite.
Originally, Tanzanite could easily be collected on the surface, but scavenger mining quickly gave way to pits and now tunnels, some of which extend hundreds of meters beneath the surface.
From 1967, an estimated two million carats of Tanzanite were extracted before the mines were nationalized by the Tanzanian government in 1971.
Being ‘One thousand times rarer than diamonds’, Tanzanite is often referred to as a ‘single generation’ gemstone, due to its limited supply.
The Tanzanite is a trichroic stone meaning that, in its natural state, it exudes three different colors from three different axes. Blue, violet and burgundy radiate from the rough stone. Once the stone has been gently heated the burgundy recedes and we are left with a blue-violet hue.
The precious gem was discovered as recently as 1967 and was first thought to be sapphire but by 1968 it was christened Tanzanite by the world famous jewellers, Tiffany & Co, and launched onto the world as ‘the’ new must-have, declaring it to be:
“The most beautiful blue stone to be discovered in 2000 years.”
THE TANZANITE QUALITY SCALE
The Tanzanite Quality Scale is an internationally recognized system for grading Tanzanites. Similar to Diamonds, the Tanzanite is graded according to the 4C's: Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. The higher the combination of these characteristics, the rarer and more valuable the stone. Ensure you understand and check all 4C's before purchasing your Tanzanite.
Colour refers to the Tanzanite's colour quality and its degree of saturation. The depth of colour ranges from exceptional to pale, with `B´or `V´ indicating predominance of blue or violet hues.
Clarity refers to any natural inclusion in a tanzanite. Tanzanite properties ranges from Internally Flawless to Heavily Included.
Cut refers to the tanzanite´s angles and proportions. An excellent cut means that the stone reflects light to create maximum brilliance.
Carat is the term used to measure a tanzanite´s weight. One carat has 100 points and weighs 1/5 of a gram.
There are so many different shapes to choose from when selecting your gemstone. Here are some of the most common shapes.
CARING FOR YOUR TANZANITE
As part of the Tanzanite Buyers Guide, here's how you can take care of your precious gemstone. Unlike diamond, Tanzanite is a softer gemstone (similar to Emerald). It makes some of the most stunning jewelry, but it does need to be handled with a little more care than you would with Diamond.
DON'T use any ultrasonic cleaning (often used by jewelers to clean jewelry), this can cause the stone to crack or shatter.
DON'T use jewelry cleaner(s) as this is far too harsh for the stone.
DO: Use warm soapy water and a soft brush (a toothbrush is ideal) and gently clean the stone, paying attention to the underside where it is mounted into the gold, silver or platinum. Once clean, dry it with a soft cloth.
NOTE: Always ensure you receive a Certificate of Authenticity with your Tanzanite Jewellery (excluding rough Tanzanite stones). It provides assurance that your Tanzanite is authentic and has followed an ethical route to market.