Facts about Tanzanite
by Madhubanti Rudra
Original tanzanite is a very rare kind of tone, occurring only in a small place in Tanzania, known as Merelani Hill, Arusha. It is actually a variety of Zoisite, which is the member of Epidote group, a silicate of calcium and aluminium.
Summary: Original tanzanite is a very rare kind of tone, occurring only in a small place in Tanzania, known as Merelani Hill, Arusha. It is actually a variety of Zoisite, which is the member of Epidote group, a silicate of calcium and Aluminium.
In the middle of 1967, a Portuguese fortune hunter named Manuel d’souza was traveling along the eastern part of Africa in search of rare quality ruby and sapphire. Flanked by Maasai tribesmen, he came near a pace just below the Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, where he happened to stumble upon a heap of gleaming blue rocks, which, at first was mistaken by him as sapphire. Little at that point of time, could he imagine, that one day this newly discovered stone would take the world by storm. Soon, this unassuming stone was christened as tanzanite after its pace of origin and gained immense popularity among the gem-lovers across the globe, especially in America, Europe and Japan.
The fact that, original tanzanite is a very rare kind of tone, occurring only in a small place in Tanzania, known as Merelani Hill, Arusha, added to its demand and high value. In the absence of sophisticated mining techniques and inadequate financing, production never attains the level where supply ever complements the demand satisfactorily. As a result, the price of tanzanite always remained very high in the international market and never settled to equilibrium till date. Today tanzanite in the 1 to 3 Carat size range and in moderate colour quality along with visible inclusions is available for $400 per Carat. Top quality tanzanites command a price over $1000 per Carat. So far as chemical composition of tanzanite is concerned, it is actually a variety of Zoisite, which is the member of Epidote group, a silicate of calcium and aluminium. Straight from the ground, in its primary form, it displays a brown shade, mixed with a light orange tinge.
Tanzanite is always given a heat treatment approximately at 700 degree Celsius temperature, which enhances its colour. A moderate heat treatment brings out the colours ranging from light bluish-violet to an intense bluish-violet. The most important price determining factor in tanzanite is its unique colour combination. Borrowing the royal ness of rich blue sapphire and stealing luster from purple amethyst, tanzanite creates such a magic with colour, that earns it a rare place of distinction in the world of gemstones. The mot prized colour in tanzanite is a rich violet-blue. A pure blue tanzanite is very rare, as tanzanites are always mixed with a purple overtone. So naturally blue tanzanites are more desirable and sold at a higher price.
Currently it has been noticed that presence of blue or purple colour components in tanzanites no longer dictates the difference in their pricing. However, with the aid of skillful cutting, its blue or violet colour components can be emphasized. However, tanzanite is highly tri-chroic, it changes its colour under different amount of light. It displays a lighter shade, mostly lavender, in smaller sizes. The larger the gem, more saturate its colour. Recently, a green variety of zoisite has been discovered, which goes by the name, green tanzanite. When tanzanite was first discovered, people got confused because of its colour. It closely resembled sapphire. But laboratory tests revealed that the stone was far too soft to rival corundum family, to which belong the sapphires. On Mohs scale of hardness, tanzanite measures 6 to 7. It has a perfect cleavage, but the fracture is uneven and brittle. It also reacts poorly to heat and pressure. Tanzanite stones however have a very clarity usually with very few inclusions.
In October 2002, the American Gem Trade Associations agreed to endorse tanzanite in the family of birth stones. It has been conferred the honour of being treated as the additional birth stone for the month of December. According to the contemporary jewelers’ Anniversary Gemstone List, tanzanite is the anniversary gemstone for 24th year of the marriage. Like other blue gems tanzanite brings a cooling effect over one’s body and mind. When life becomes chaotic under tremendous pressure tanzanite is believed to bring the composure of self. Enhancing personal inside and vision, it reaffirms one’s individual will. Gold brings with it the energy of sun and the stone represents the power of moon. So if tanzanite is worn, teamed with gold. Beautifully blends in it the energies of the sun and the moon. Although tanzanite lacks in luster, it is the unusual colour of this tone that stole the hearts of millions all over the world. Whether worn as a ring or a necklace, as an earring or a bracelet, it has the potential of becoming the ultimate eye catcher. Although wearing tanzanite jewelleries require special care and protection, it always speaks of one’s refined taste and high sense of aesthetics.