Tanzanite is a rare and highly sought-after gemstone known for its striking blue to violet-blue color. Here’s a more detailed explanation of Tanzanite:
1. Origin: Tanzanite gets its name from its primary source, Tanzania, East Africa. It was discovered in the Merelani Hills of northern Tanzania in the 1960s. This single-source origin adds to its allure and value.
2. Mineral Composition: Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral zoisite and is primarily composed of calcium aluminum silicate. The blue color is attributed to the presence of trace amounts of vanadium and/or chromium.
3. Color: The most prized Tanzanite stones exhibit a deep, rich, and vibrant blue color with a subtle violet overtone. The pleochroism, a property of some minerals that displays different colors from different angles, can make Tanzanite appear blue from one angle and violet from another.
4. Rarity: Tanzanite is considered one of the rarest gemstones in the world. Its availability is limited to a single location, and the known deposits are relatively small. The rarity of Tanzanite contributes significantly to its value.
5. Cutting and Clarity: High-quality Tanzanite is carefully cut to maximize its color and brilliance. It’s often faceted to showcase its pleochroic properties, making it a unique and attractive gemstone. Clarity can vary, but stones with fewer inclusions or flaws are more valuable.
6. Birthstone: Tanzanite is one of the birthstones for December, making it a popular choice for jewelry in that month.
7. Durability: Tanzanite is moderately hard, with a rating of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. While it’s suitable for jewelry, it should be handled with care to avoid scratching or chipping.
8. Heat Treatment: Many Tanzanite gemstones are heat-treated to enhance their color. This treatment is widely accepted and is considered a standard practice in the industry.
9. Value: The value of Tanzanite is determined by factors like color, size, clarity, and cut. High-quality stones with intense blue and violet hues can command significant prices in the market.
Tanzanite’s stunning color and limited supply have made it a favorite gemstone among collectors and jewelry enthusiasts. It is often used in various types of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings. As with any gemstone, it’s essential to purchase Tanzanite from reputable sources to ensure its authenticity and quality.