TANZANITE

Tanzanite properties & Myths

Our tanzanite stones are graded using the “Tanzanite Quality Scale,” an internationally recognized system that allows a stone’s color and quality to be accurately described, giving assurance to those who want to be sure about the quality and authenticity of their tanzanite. In a similar way to diamonds, tanzanite is graded according to the 4C’s : Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. The higher the combination of these characteristics, the rarer and more valuable the stone.

Whether the gem is being offered to consumer’s at a traditional jewelry store’s counter, an internet shopping site, or on a television broadcast the journey always involves a great deal of effort.  Countless hours of labor are needed for a gem to grow from mine to the end customer.

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One very small area of land at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro provides the location for the world’s only source of this alluring stone.

Tanzania, a country rich in folklore, boasts an ancient story that the local Maasai saw a bolt of lightning come down from the sky and strike all the rocks on the ground turning them to a shimmering blue – Tanzanite.

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Tanzanite is commercially mined in only one small area in the Mererani (or Merelani) Hills in Northern Tanzania, at the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro.  Originally, Tanzanite could easily be collected on the surface, but this scavenger mining quickly gave way to pits and now tunnels, some of which extend hundreds of meters beneath the surface.  The Tanzanite Experience has its own mine located in Block D and follows a code of strict ethical mining and best practice.

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It takes years of training to cut Tanzanite to the point that it can be certified as an ‘excellent cut’, where the stone reflects light to create maximum brilliance.  The process of cutting plays a crucial role in displaying the true colours of the gemstone and due to its ability to show either blue or violet from different angles the cutting direction determines the gem’s overall face-up colour.

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Once the stone is cut and polished it has to be laboratory graded to determine its quality.  The Tanzanite Experience Museum is also home to the Tanzanite Laboratory where all the gemstones are expertly assessed before being made available for purchase.

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Famous Tanzanites

  • PETERSEN TANZANITE BROOCH

    PETERSEN TANZANITE BROOCH

    This piece is set with a matched pair of tanzanite’s weighing 30 carats, which can also be worn as earrings.  It is part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the US.

  • TIFFANY 175th ANNIVERSARY NECKLACE

    TIFFANY 175th ANNIVERSARY NECKLACE

    To commemorate their 175th anniversary Tiffany & Co created this necklace to showcase the rare and previous Tanzanite.  The 178.07-carat tanzanite is complemented by a cascade of 75.77 carate of diamonds.

  • L’HEURE BLUE TANZANITE CARVING

    L’HEURE BLUE TANZANITE CARVING

    At 725 ct, L’Heure Bleu is the world’s largest, top-color, natural, unheated tanzanite carving. This extraordinary carving was awarded First Place in Gem Carving from the American Gem Trade Association.

  • MAWENZI

    MAWENZI

    Weighing in at 16,839 carats. (Well over six pounds) and measuring 8.6 inches x 3.15 inches x 2.8 inches, this rough Tanzanite piece is impressive in both size and structure. According to known records, it’s the world’s largest single piece of Tanzanite to have ever been mined, and is believed to be held in a private collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Based on the Moh’s scale of hardness, Tanzanite is 6.5-7 which means it is a slightly soft gemstone, the same as Emerald but less brittle, and therefore needs to be treated with care.  Diamond is the hardest gemstone, scoring a 10 on the scale.

Do not use jewellery cleaner as the chemicals will be too harsh for the Tanzanite.  Instead clean it gently with a soft toothbrush using warm soapy water and dry with a soft cloth.  Avoid ultrasonic cleaning.

With just a single source and limited supply, it is believed that, at the current rate of mining, there is somewhere between 15 and 20 more years of Tanzanite left in the ground. Ultimately, this indicates that beyond OUR generation, there will be no more Tanzanite and the buyers of today are the last of the first-time buyers of this precious gemstone.

Whether a Tanzanite is a blue or violet stone is determined by which axis the face of the stone is cut as you can see both colours when you turn the stone around.  As it is the same stone there is no difference between the value of one over the other.  It is purely down to personal preference.

The word Tanzanite comes from the name Tanzania, the country that the stone comes from and Zoisite which is the mineral group that the stone belongs to.

It should be assumed that all Tanzanite purchases have been gently heated (with the exception of some of the stones that were found close to the surface during the early days of discovery).  These stones were a gem-quality blue without the need for heat treatment as they had already naturally been exposed to heat in the likely form of volcanic activity or bush fires. Today’s gentle heating process is merely a continuation on what Mother Nature began.

The name Tanzanite was given specifically to the blue violet gemstone that that is part of the zoisite family.  There are other zoisites that come in a full range of colors that, whilst they are not rare and unique to Tanzania like Tanzanite, are extremely attractive and can be made into beautiful jewellery.  Their price, with the exception of pink, is much lower than Tanzanite and they have been given the unofficial name of Fancy Tanzanite

All our Tanzanite Experience stores offer Duty Free shopping.

 (please note that you will be required to produce your passport and this offer is only applicable to non residents of Tanzania)