Tanzanite was discovered in the 20th century. Here's a quick story of the beautiful stone from Africa to Tiffany's to date.
The Blue Story in Violet Shades
The ancient Pan-African Tectonothermal Event produced blue zoisite known as tanzanite in Merilani in Tanzania. Millions of years ago, metamorphic schists, gneisses and quartzites formed impressive, flat-topped inselbergs on a vast plain in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. The precious crystals grew in deposits on the inside of these unusual elevations.
For a long, long time they were hidden from the eye of Man, until one day some passing Masai shepherds noticed some sparkling crystals lying in the sun and took them along with them. However, it was only when outsiders noticed that the stone took off.
According to the Masai legends, the land was set ablaze by a bolt of lightning. The heat from this ‘magic fire in the sky’ transformed crystals on the ground into shimmering blue-violet stones. When the last embers dissolved into the earth and the thick smoke settled, awestruck Masai tribesmen filled their pouches with these mystical stones, believing the jewels would bring them a better life.
When the first tanzanites were offered to the New York jewelry company Tiffany a short time after their discovery, they sparked an enthusiastic reaction. 'This gemstone is a sensation!', they said. However, they did make a recommendation to give the 'child' another name, since the gemmologically correct name 'blue zoisite' was felt to be too close to the English word 'suicide'. So Tiffany's proposed the name 'tanzanite', after the place where the stone had been found - a name which quickly came into general use in the trade. And it was Tiffany's who, two years after its discovery, presented the exclusive gemstone to the general public with a broad-based advertising campaign.
In recognition of its popularity, in 2002 tanzanite was added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. This saw tanzanite join turquoise and zircon as accepted birthstones for December. Not a small thing, especially when you consider this was the first time the list had been changed since 1912.
A tanzanite still continues to fascinate with its unusual, captivating aura. Its deep blue with the slightly purple tinge is one of the most extravagant colors known to Man. It personifies immaculate, yet unconventional elegance. A person who acquires one of these exclusive gems is someone who wishes to set himself apart from the hoi polloi and does exude confidence and a strong sense of individuality.
Tanzanite has a very unique position among all gemstones as it has and displays multidimensional color, making it an exceptionally brilliant possession. Know more about the various shades, hues and grades of the stone.
Color – the essence of Tanzanite
Tanzanite has a very unique position amongst all gemstones as it has and displays multi-dimensional color, making it an exceptionally brilliant possession.
Tanzanite is the only gemstone that is ‘trichroic’ in nature. Essentially it means that when white light passes through the crystal, it breaks into 2 paths and you will see 3 different colors – you might see violet, brownish- yellow and blue-violet, 3 different colors from 3 different angles, showing its amazing trichroism. This is so typical of a well developed tanzanite!
The deep blue of the tanzanite is fantastic, and runs from ultramarine blue to light violet-blue. The most coveted color is a blue surrounded by a delicate hint of purple, which has a particularly wonderful effect in sizes of over 10 carats.
Most raw crystals are somewhat spoiled by a brownish-yellow component, though it can be made to disappear by the cutter if he heats the stone carefully in an oven to approximately 500° to bring out the classic blue violet of the stone. The color quality is based on the degree of saturation with greater value placed on gems with greater saturation.
The reddish pink color is still visible within Tanzanite though, even after heating, in different lights. During the daylight Tanzanite appears bluer, at night in incandescent artificial light you can once again see the red flashes through it.
While the larger stones tend to display the more vibrant colors, the smaller stones showcase pastel shades. Matching pairs are always greatly sought after, as it’s unusual to find two stones identical in color. This exclusive gemstone is cut in every imaginable shape from the classical round shape to a number of imaginative designer cuts.
Normally, tanzanite color grading is spread into a range of hues, between blue violet and violet blue. Purple is a modified spectral hue that lies halfway between red and blue. When heated, tanzanite emits only two colors- blue and violet, and the hue specifications range between blue-violet to violet-blue.
While the deeper colors have greater value, tanzanite with moderate to light colors is still desirable. When you add a fine cut to a moderate color it can be a gem of great beauty. This remarkable feature of color is one of the many properties that make this rare and special gem stone so desired the world over.
In this chart below, you can understand how tone and saturation work in the context of tanzanite and how the GIA grades apply to them. On the vertical axis, you will the gradation in terms of the tone. As the tone increases, tanzanite’s value also increases, as you see it going upwards in the chart. The chart also indicates the various levels of grading.
The colors of the tanzanite range from pale to super dark. While A stands for the most pale stone (look at the bottom most line), the colors enhance as they increase in grades. Therefore, the super dark tanzanite is the most valued and most desirable.
Similarly, the color saturation also defines the quality and value of the tanzanite, right from violet to blue. This is how tanzanite (and other gemstones, too) gets graded for their depth, quality and color, thereby determining the value and the price of the tanzanite. The tanzanite on the top right is the most deep and indicates optimum grading. This essentially means that this stone is the most coveted and certainly a prized possession.
It is the clarity of the tanzanite that shall render its value. What is clarity in a gemstone? Read More to understand the concept of clarity.
When you decide to buy Tanzanite, it is also important to look at the clarity of the gemstone, along with the darker shades of the color. The more flawless the faceted tanzanite, the more valuable it is.
It is known that every gemstone contains some kind of foreign matter or dislocation or irregularity in the crystal lattice, which are only identified through a microscope. Since inclusions are not accidental appearances but rather are subject to strict conformities with natural law, they can tell a lot about the origin of the gemstone deposits and, in addition to that, they help in their identification.
In Tanzanite clarity grading is based on the eye-clean standard. This basically means that a tanzanite is flawless if you don’t see any flaw or inclusions with the unaided eye. The Gemological Institute of America classifies tanzanite as a Type I gemstone, meaning it is normally eye-flawless. Gems with eye-visible inclusions are traded at deep discounts.
Flawless- A flawless tanzanite is bereft of any kind of inclusions, minor and major. See through, with a deeper blue color, this type of tanzanite is the most desirable in the market and on our online shop too, and the most prized possession.
Internally Flawless- Positioned between the best and the better, this type of tanzanite is one of the most sold on our online shop, too.
VVS (Very Very Slightly Included- VVS1 and VVS2) - This may contain minor inclusions that can only be viewed through a jeweler's magnifying loupe, which magnifies the tanzanite by ten times.
VS (Very Slightly Included- VS1 and VS2) - The inclusions can be viewed only under 10x magnification. Desirable, but only of slightly greater value than SI11
SI (Slightly Included- SI1)- Eye clean gems with inclusions easily seen with 10x magnification. No negative effect on value.
I(Included I1, I2, I3)- Inclusions easily seen with the naked eye. Depending on type of inclusion price is reduced by 20% to 60%
OUR ONLINE STORE SELLS FLAWLESS AND INTERNALLY FLAWLESS TANZANITES ONLY.
The human precision with which the tanzanite is cut and shaped, determines its value in the market. Read More to understand the ideal way a tanzanite is cut into, as also the various shapes a tanzanite is crafted to perfection.
It is very important for a Tanzanite to be well cut, as it impacts not only on the brilliance and fire of the tanzanite, but also on the overall quality. A badly cut tanzanite, can make the best quality look inferior, and often stones are cut to maximize weight and not beauty.
Tanzanites are found in a great deal of variety in terms of their shapes and sizes. Though ovals and cushions are most common, rounds, and other shapes - emerald cuts, trillions, etc- also make for great buying. It might also be interesting to note that the cut helps in determining the color of the tanzanite- depending on the blue or violet color component, tanzanite can resemble the finest royal-blue sapphire or hint at amethyst.
How much does the cut of tanzanite determine its value? It is the brilliance, proportions and finishing of the cut that does that. When the tanzanite’s facets reflect a large amount of light, it indicates the maximum amount of brilliance. The precision (proportions and finishing) with which the stone was crafted dictates how valuable the Tanzanite will be.
The diagram below indicates the way a tanzanite is crafted to perfection. In this diagram, you shall understand the ideal proportion of a tanzanite. While ‘a’ is the width of the tanzanite, ‘b’ indicates the height of the tanzanite crown (one third in proportion) and ‘c’ is the depth of the pavilion. Its ideal depth is two thirds of the proportion.
On the other side, you shall see the way the tanzanite is cut in an ideal scenario. The first and the second figure indicate that a tanzanite should not be cut too deep or too shallow- that is an example of a badly cut tanzanite. A best cut tanzanite is the one that is cut on the right level of depth and width.
Also, look at the various shapes in which a tanzanite is cut into:
Tanzanite can be cut in so many shapes and variations; you will be thrilled that so much can be achieved with a stone of such properties!
Curious to know how a tanzanite is crafted exclusively for you? Well the elaborate processes of planning, marking, preforming, bruting and polishing are all explained here in a very simple manner.
Tanzanite Manufacturing Process Rough Tanzanite from Zoisite Mineral
In its rough from, tanzanite is extracted from blue zoisite mineral. This mineral is found in only one country in the whole world- Tanzania, in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro.
When the rough tanzanite is extracted from the ground, its hardness is around 6.5- 7. When the rough tanzanite is extracted, its properties such as color, size, clarity and cut are determined, to indicate its worth and value. Through a vigorous processing, optical and manual sorting system, rough tanzanite is prepared for its consequent stages.
Planning & Marking Tanzanite
The most crucial task in the creation of the perfect Tanzanite gemstone, this is where tanzanite is nurtured at the hands of a skilled craftsman or a jeweler. The professional plans and decides, in consultation with the concerned owners, the cut, weight and carat of precious gemstone. This will then determine its market value. The tanzanite is now ready to be cut.
Making and Pre-form
Making & Pre-form is a simple process by which a rough tanzanite rough is divided into desired marked pieces. This marking is done perpendicularly or against the planes that the tanzanite rough needs to be sawn i.e. 'cut.' As the rough tanzanite begins to get cut as per the marking process, one side of the stone is cut with a flat surface. This is called the table or main flat facet on top of the stone.
This provides the orientation for further cutting and marking. At this stage the stone is called a pre-form, and you can see what the final shape will be.
Once the process of pre-form is completed, the tanzanite stone is sent back to the planning and marking department for checking the results of procedures and then passed on to the next process of Bruting.
In the process of Bruting, Tanzanite’s girdle is formed. It is called rounding. The girdle is the surface which is formed around the thickest part of the stone. To form the girdle, the stone is again set in a 'dop', which is then fixed on to the centre of a lathe spinning on high speed. Using another tanzanite stone set in a long 'bruting stick', the corners of the rough stone are gradually rounded off until the spinning tanzanite is perfectly round at its thickest part. After this process, once again the quality check is done. If the tanzanite finds itself suitable, it moves on to the polishing department, the last of all processes.
When the tanzanite is polished, it also undergoes through faceting. Polishing is the art of giving the final touches to the tanzanite. This process also requires huge amount of concentration on the part of the jeweler- craftsman, as it here that the tanzanite is given its much required grandeur.
The tanzanite now moves on to the grading department, where tanzanite receives its grading as per the GIA standards.
This step make the tanzanite into a Faceted pieces This is the last step in the manufacturing process of the tanzanite from where on it goes to the grading department.