Tanzanite was added to the list of December birthstones (others being Turquoise and Zircon) in 2002 by American Gemstone Trade Association. It is pronounced as TANN-ZUH-NYTE.
It is the blue to violet gem variety of the mineral Zoisite. Zoisite was not considered a gem material until 1967, when a blue to purple-blue transparent variety was found in Tanzania.
Till date, Tanzania is the only country in the world where these beautiful stones have been found and that is why it has got its name.
This stone is NOT very hard and on Mohs Scale of hardness, it is placed at 6 - 6.5. It does have perfect cleavage in one direction which makes it prone to chipping or forming flaws if banged hard.
Its color ranges from pure blue to purple-blue. Those stones that are medium-dark in tone and slightly violet-blue, command premium prices. It is highly pleochroic, due to which it displays different color saturation when viewed at different angles.
This stone is known for changing its color when subjected to heat and is therefore, commonly heated in the jewelry-making process to intensify its color.
|Different Colored Tanzanites|
Popularity and Price
It is quite a popular gemstone. Its jewelry is desired by all age-groups, showcasing energy of the youth and sophistication of the mature. It is commonly used in bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Lesser quality stones are occasionally cut into cabochons.
However, being relatively soft and somewhat brittle, this gem is not recommended for engagement rings. This is because ring is daily worn item, so it is more exposed to knocks unless set in a protective setting. If it is truly the "stone of her dreams", just be sure that it is set into protective bezel setting.
As this gemstone is relatively less expensive than sapphire, it was often purchased as sapphire’s alternative. However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as sapphire’s substitute. This lovely gem, in fine quality, can cost over $1800 per carat in large sizes.
Things to Remember
Though pretty and popular, it is not a very hard and durable gemstone, due to which it’s prone to scratches. So, caution should be exercised while wearing this gemstone as it may get easily chipped if banged hard. Also, it cannot stand intense heat or rapid temperature changes, so it should never be steam cleaned or cleaned with ultrasonic.