Friday, April 4, 2014

The Beautiful Truth Behind Tanzanite

Tanzanites are one of the most coveted and "youngest" colored stones around. It was discovered in 1967 in the Mererani Hills in Northern Tanzania, and brought to the US by Tiffany & Co.

Tanzanite color can range from light purple to rich purplish blue color to pure blue.   Because of that it's often mistaken for sapphire or amethyst

eBay seller abboudjewelry

Even at its "young" age by gemstone standards, it's quickly become one of the most popular gemstones around.  You'll see them sold in almost every department store in a lighter purple shade, but the "collector" color is purplish blue or pure blue color. approximately Grade A
Another from  This one is definitely top grade!

Tanzanites are in the zoisite mineral family.  When mined most Tanzanite is a muddy brown color.  The blue color is only achieved through light heating.  This is one of those treatments in colored stones that is totally 100% acceptable, and in fact if not for that treatment there would be verrrrry few Tanzanites in the world (there are unheated Tanzanites, but damn are they hard to find).
Tanzanites are incredibly soft at 6.5 on the Mohs and must be worn and cleaned with the greatest of care.   Ideally they're best suited for necklaces or earrings, but I know how hard it is not to see that kind of beauty all of the time.  Just be very careful with them when wearing them because they will scratch, ding and lose luster. 

Currently there aren't any synthetic Tanzanites.  There are CZs that are colored like fine Tanzanites and there are other stones that can simulate Tanzanites, but science has yet to create a method for growing a synthetic stone that has the exact chemical composition of a Tanzanite.   That means that testing for genuineness is a lot easier than with sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Now that I've gotten through all of the nitty gritty, here's the reasoning behind my title: The world is not running out of Tanzanite.  Yes, as with any other gemstone the world's supply is limited, but there's no real risk of the supply running out any time soon.  This was a marketing ploy that began in the 90's and like any good rumor it's just kept on going.  It's still being used by TV jewelery sales channels, and it's working because people are buying up the low grade Tanzanite left and right thinking they may have a collector's item on their hands (literally).  That's not the say they're not still incredibly rare.  Gemstones are rare.  So much more rare than diamonds.  But they're not going to dry out like Russian Alexandrites or true Paraiba tourmalines.  So you still have the chance to own this gorgeous stone, if you feel so compelled.
As always, buyer beware.  As I said there are stones out there that are made to look like Tanzanites.  Also, just because it is a Tanzanite, know that the premium pricing should only be paid for the premium colors.  Shady sellers of this stone will still try to convince you that the mines are drying out and try to rob you blind.  Now you can tell them that you know better!!

Thank you for reading!  I hope you all have a blingtastic weekend!