Tanzanite - December Birthstone

When I got into the jewelry industry in 1975, I found myself mesmerized by a diamond’s scintillation and beauty. Over 45 years later, I find myself fascinated by another even more exotic stone…Tanzanite. 

This magnificently beautiful gem is only found in the mountains of Tanzania. It’s discovery by a humble Masai tribesman, Ali Juuyawatu, led to it’s commercial use when its mineral, Zoisite's potential was evaluated by Tiffany & Co executives. Tiffany & Co went ahead and gave the stone it’s name, Tanzanite. They then introduced the stone to the fine jewelry world in 1967.

Tanzanite exhibits a beautiful combination of violet and blue with flashes of red. The color is produced by traces of Vanadium and the color combination is caused by one of Tanzanite’s identifying characteristics called “Pleochroism.” This effect is due to the mineral’s Trichoric (tri-directional) crystallographic make-up. What is all that mean? The mineral reflects three different colors: Blue, Red and Violet on three different axes.

Like all colored stones, tanzanite’s beauty is emphasized by the stone cutter’s art. The most sought after color in Tanzanite is a blue body color with accents of violet hue. That color arrangement is achieved by orienting the rough in such a way that when cut, it will yield smaller but higher quality stones. Therefore, the cutter needs to evaluate the rough (uncut specimen) and decide as to cut/fashion the specific stone for best color. It could be cut deeper or shallower to expose the desired color. This in turn affects the weight retained from the original specimen for additional cut stones.

Whatever the result, a fine jewelry buyer is acquiring one of the most rare and limited single source minerals on Earth.

Tanzanite has a hardness scale of 6-7 which makes it appropriate for everyday wear. It is one of the birthstones for the month of December. The other is Tuquoise. You can find our collection of turquoise jewelry HERE.

Shop our current selection of jewelry styles that features Tanzanite HERE.

-By Louise Bouzon