tanzanite mine

The gemstone discoveries in East Africa in the 1960s transformed the jewellery world: new varieties, new colours, and new variations on existing species made that decade the most exciting time in the gemstone industry in our lifetimes.

But no gemstone discovered in East Africa has had more of an impact on the world gemstone market than tanzanite, a velvety blue variety of the mineral zoisite that was found for the first time in 1967 and named after the country of its birth by Tiffany & Co in New York, who introduced the gemstone to the world market in 1969.

Tanzanite is the ultimate prize of a gem safari. Its rich purples and blues often have a depth comparable to the finest sapphire. Paler tanzanite has a delicate periwinkle colour like the eyes of Elizabeth Taylor. It is supremely rare, coming from only one place in the world, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

rough tanzaniteThe source of its mesmerising colour is that tanzanite is trichroic: that is, it shows different colours when viewed in different directions. One direction is blue, another purple, and another bronze, adding subtle depths to the colour. When tanzanite is found in the ground, the bronze colour dominates. However, with gentle heating, the cutter can watch the blue colour bloom and deepen in the stone.

Choosing a Tanzanite

The colour of tanzanite is most intense in sizes above ten carats. Smaller tanzanites are usually paler in colour. Tanzanites which are more blue rather than purple tend to be more expensive because the crystals tend to form with the blue colour axis oriented along the width of the crystal instead of the length. That means that if the cutter chooses to maximise the purity of the blue colour, the stone cut from the rough will be smaller and will cost more per carat. The blue colour, however, is so beautiful, that the sacrifice is often worth it.


Are you ready to go offshore


Villa in Malindi for sale
for any hotel at the beach
Central Reservations
Price Confirmation
Your Requests
Write to us
back to travel
Updated: 16 February 2006 - Copyright © 1998-2009, Web pages authored by STUDIO 2001