Tanzanite, one of the world's rarest and most beautiful precious stones, has increased in popularity due to its rarity and hypnotic violetish-blue hue. Celebrities have frequently worn it on the red carpet, piquing public interest in gemstones.
Exquisite tanzanite jewelry and tanzanite loose gemstones will soon become valued heirlooms as the stone's scarcity grows by the day. Despite its youth, this gemstone possesses a number of distinguishing characteristics that make it a worthwhile consideration for fine jewelry.
Here are five fascinating facts about tanzanite that everyone should know:
Manuel De Souza, an Indian tailor who had traveled to Tanzania to look for gemstones and gold, discovered this unique gemstone. He was walking around the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro when he noticed something shimmering in the ground.
He reasoned that the stone was too soft to be sapphire, and thus later classified it as a Zoisite variation.
Small quantities of vanadium within the zoisite mineral structure cause the blue color of tanzanite. When vanadium-bearing zoisite is heated to 600 degrees celsius for around 30 minutes, the vanadium's oxidation state changes which cause or improves the blue color. When compared to other gems such as rubies and sapphires, the heat treatment of tanzanite is quite gentle.
These jewels may be heated to temperatures ranging from 1000 to 1800 degrees celsius and held there for days or weeks.
Tanzanite is one of the very few gemstones with a Trichroic feature. This means that the crystals have a discernible color change when viewed under different lighting conditions or from different angles.
Tanzanite can appear deep blue, purple, or sometimes red depending on how it catches the light.
The tanzanite deposits were formed under conditions that could only have occurred during the massive events that gave birth to Mount Kilimanjaro. However, this event only created a small number of deposits in the mountain's bedrock.
Geologists believe that the tanzanite mines will be depleted within the next two decades or so. Known to be approximately a thousand times rarer than diamonds, tanzanite has been dubbed ‘the gem of a generation.’.
Tanzanite was named after the country of its origin. In the initial days of its discovery, this gemstone was classified under the ‘Zoisite’ family. It was Tiffany & Co. who aptly came up with the name “tanzanite”, honoring Tanzania, the only place on the planet where the gem can be found.
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