The Weird and the Wonderful
Becoming more violet in incandescent light, tanzanite has been compared to the lavender eyes of Elizabeth Taylor.
It displays distinct pleochroism, showing grey, blue and purple depending from which angle it’s viewed.
Sometimes mistaken for sapphire, this dark blue variety of Zoisite, is colored blue from traces of vanadium.
In its natural form, it is most commonly a dull brown color, however, when heated to around 600 degrees Celsius it changes to its vibrant blue or purple color. Whilst some gemstones are enhanced and heat-treated in order to create additional color, Tanzanite is heated simply to bring out the color already present in the stone, not to create a better quality gemstone. Simply richer in color, heat-treated tanzanite is considered to be the same quality as non heat-treated tanzanite’s, and as a rule, the larger the tanzanite, the deeper the color.
A 122.7 carat tanzanite specimen named ‘The Midnight Blue’ is on display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.
80% of all tanzanite mined is shipped to the United States, where it is the most popular colored gemstone after sapphire.
History in a Nutshell
Discovered in 1967, it is found almost entirely in Tanzania, a fact that is looked upon as both a blessing and a curse.
It is believed that it was originally discovered by Masai cattle herders after they noticed that previously brown crystals had been turned blue after being exposed to the intense heat brought about by fires and lightning strikes.
The Masai believe it to be the stone of birth, frequently giving their wives Tanzanite gemstones following the birth of their first child.
An excellent stone for meditation, tanzanite can help increase spiritual awareness and make you more sensitive to experiences.
It can stimulate both the 5th, or Throat Chakra and the 6th, or Brow Chakra and bring together all aspects of communication.