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A Definitive Guide to Tanzanite Jewelry.

May 22, 2021 · 3 min read

Since its discovery in 1967, Tanzanite has taken over the globe and captured more than one heart. The unique blue gem made famous by Tiffany and Co has since been worn as a fashion statement by multiple celebrities and public figures over the years. Known to evoke elegance and timeless style, tanzanite jewelry is both an accessory and an investment. If you are looking to learn all you need to know about genuine tanzanite jewelry, then this guide is for you.

History

The history of tanzanite is deeply interlinked with its people. The stone was first discovered by Jumanne Ngoma, a local herdsman, who spotted the sparkly blue stone at the foothill of Mount Kilimanjaro. He then shared his finding with a Manuel de Souza, a gem protestor.

Then known as blue zoisite, the gem became famous when the owners of Tiffany & Co, renowned American jewelers, fell in love with the blue gem and launched a campaign claiming the stone to be ‘the most important gemstone discovery in over 2000 years’. After being renamed ‘Tanzanite’ after its only source, the gem seemingly grew in popularity overnight becoming one of the most coveted gemstones in the world.

Composition

The origin of Tanzanite goes back a few hundred million years ago due to significant tectonic activity. The movement of the tectonic plates caused extreme heat and pressure which warmed and cooled the rocks present during the event.

When reaching near melting point, the rocks were metamorphosed into the rough blue zoisite crystals which were later named Tanzanites, by Tiffany and Co after their country of origin. The composition of the bedrock during the formation of Mount Kilimanjaro contained deposits of Vanadium to which has been attributed the sumptuous blue-violet of tanzanite jewelry.

Fancy Tanzanite

While the blue tanzanite remains the most popular by far, there exists other colors such as pink, orange, yellow and green. These incredibly rare occurrences are often referred to as ‘Fancy Tanzanite’.

While the blue pigment of tanzanite comes from Vanadium in the bedrock, these different colors are said to have been created by traces of other elements such as Manganese.

A well-kept secret between collectors and gemologists, fancy tanzanites, even rarer than their renowned counterpart, are incredible investments and additions to any collection or jewelry box. 

Rarity

Authentic tanzanite jewelry is famous for its rarity. The event and conditions which created the stone deposits a hundred million years ago are said to be so unique that the chances of finding another tanzanite source anywhere in the world are close to none.

While diamond has been found in small pockets around the world, Tanzania as the sole source of tanzanite in the world makes it a thousand times rarer than diamonds.

However, that's not the only reason which makes tanzanite so unique. After evaluation, experts have estimated tanzanite mines will run out in the next few decades. This implies that now is the only time for the firsthand acquisition of the blue gemstone from its source.

Rightfully named 'the gem of a generation', people wishing to purchase authentic tanzanite jewelry in the future will need to buy them secondhand.

Trichroic

Naturally occuring tanzanite often has residues of brown and grey hues. Like most gems, the intense royal blue which has made its fame is acquired through a mild heat treatment to get rid of imperfections and reveal the true jewel underneath.

After the removal of the brown axis, the stone's real color is finally revealed. After so much talk of blue tanzanite, a lot of people don't know is that the stone has rare trichroic properties.

Based on the lighting and the angle at which light enters the gem, the gemstone can also demonstrate rich violet, intense blue or striking red tones. This makes the cutting of the stone significantly more complicated as the type of cut affects the path of the light and thus the colour of the gem.

Grading

While tanzanite is a unique gem, it is graded based on a standard GIA system used for other precious stones, such as diamonds.

This system uses the 4C’s, namely color, clarity, cut and carat weight, to determine the value of a specific stone. Each of these elements has a direct impact on the grade and price of a piece of tanzanite fine jewelry.

For example, tanzanites can have a striking or pale blue tone. Jewels with a higher color intensity will rank better and thus be more valuable than their faded counterparts.

The same applies to other factors of the GIA grading system, a clear gem with close to no inclusions and a good carat weight could rank as an investment grade gem.

The GIA grading system is mostly used to evaluate the stones but also to provide peace of mind to its buyers.

Each piece of genuine tanzanite jewelry for sale is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity listing its level of its carat weight, clarity, color, cut and overall grade. The certificate is thus a confirmation that the buyer is purchasing the jewel at the right price but also that the gem has been ethically mined in accordance to the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol and labour rights.

Investment

Is tanzanite jewelry a good investment? The answer is yes. Beyond the beauty of tanzanite jewelry, its scarcity is what makes it a truly worthwhile investment. With mines expected to run dry in the near future, tanzanite is among some of the rarest gemstones in the world.

By laws of supply and demand, tanzanite jewelry thus has incredible collectible value which is only bound to rise as years pass. Buying your tanzanite now can thus be a strategic investment as passing down this piece of fine jewelry through the generations means a heritage which constantly grows in value.

How to Care for Your Tanzanite Jewelry?

Tanzanite is a fairly stable and durable stone. However, like all pieces of jewelry, it requires some extra care and cleaning from time to time.

A trusted jeweler will easily restore your gem to its former glory by cleaning and repolishing if necessary, however, you should be advised that ultrasonic cleaning and harsh chemicals should not be used on a tanzanite as the exerted stress may cause some serious damage.

The best way to clean your tanzanite jewelry remains to soak it in warm, soapy water for around 20 to 30 minutes before delicately drying it with a soft cloth.

While tanzanite can be fitted into any piece of fine jewelry such as rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets, special attention is required to shield it from rough surfaces and abrasions which may dull its luster and shine.

Natural tanzanite jewelry, especially rings, are not to be worn for daily activities such as household chores as it may expose the gem to friction and harsh chemicals. To avoid rubbing against other accessories in your jewelry box, it is recommended that tanzanite jewelry be stored in a separate pouch.

DO YOU WANT MORE JEWELRY OPTIONS?

You can contact us to book a tour of our museum at Blue Plaza, Arusha or Visit our online shop to browse through our entire selection of jewelry

Buying Tanzanite Online

With technological advances and e-shopping, you can now review, select and purchase natural tanzanite jewelry from your living room. By browsing through the online catalog, you can choose from a wide variety of ready-made rings, necklaces and more, or select a loose tanzanite stone to create your custom jewelry.

While buying online does not allow you to directly examine the jewelry of our choice, the elaborate product details allow you to judge the carat weight, grading, color and clarity of your piece before requesting a quotation.

You should receive a confirmation within 24 hours. Once agreed upon, our Customer Relation Manager will guide you through the next steps for the payment and delivery arrangements. You will soon receive your genuine tanzanite jewelry along with its unique certificate of authenticity.

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