All about Tanzanite


What is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a trading name used by the super famous Tiffany and Company to Buy high-quality Tanzanite specimens of a mineral named zoisite with a blueish color. Tiffany would have sold the material under the mineralogical character of the blue zoisite, but they thought the name tanzanite would stimulate client interest and be more accessible to the market.

The name tanzanite was given to this because the world's only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is situated in northern Tanzania. The name portrays the gem's limited geographic origin. The mines are all located in about eight square miles in Merelani mountains, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro inside the city of Arusha. People then started to Buy high-quality Tanzanite.

What is the history of Tanzanite? How did it Originate?

In 1967 July, Manuel D'Souza, a Goan tailor and a professional gold prospector living near Arusha, Tanzania found some transparent fragments of blue and blue-purple gem crystals ridge near Mirerani, some 40 km southeast of Arusha. He assumed that the mineral was olivine but, after soon realizing it was not, he concluded it was "dumortierite" (a blue non-gem mineral). Shortly after that, the stones were shown to John Saul, a Nairobi based consulting geologist and gemstone wholesaler who was then mining the aquamarine in the region around Mount Kenya. Saul, who had later discovered the famous ruby deposits in the Tsavo area of Kenya, he eliminated dumortierite and cordierite as the possibilities and sent samples to his father- Hyman Saul, the vice president at Saks Fifth Avenue in USA. Hyman Saul brought the models across the street to the Gemological Institute of USA, who then identified the new gem correctly as a variety of the mineral zoisite. Mineralogists also made correct identification at Harvard University, the British Museum, and Heidelberg University. Still, the first person to get the identification of Tanzanite correct was Ian McCloud, a Tanzania based government geologist who was based in Dodoma. Scientifically called the blue zoisite, it was renamed as Tanzanite by Tiffany & Co., a US based famous company who wanted to capitalize on the rarity in a single location of the gem and thought that blue zoisite that might be pronounced like "blue suicide" would not sell well. Tiffany's original campaign advertised that the Tanzanite could now be found in two places: "in Tanzania and at Tiffany's." People then started to Buy high-quality Tanzanite.

What is the composition of Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is like most other gems in that small stones are even more abundant than the larger stones. Most of the faceted tanzanites are under five carats in weight. Stones over fifty carats are scarce. Small stones are typically cut out into calibrated sizes to be used in commercial jewelry. Those with most-grade color are the most valuable and often go into a custom or designer jewelry.

Large stones with exceptional color are scarce. Collectors, museums, or investors often purchase these. Some are also used to make unique pieces of custom or designer jewelry. People then started to Buy high-quality Tanzanite. The size of a tanzanite gem vastly influences its color. If you have two stones of an equal level of saturation, the larger stone will have a richer transparent color - because the distance that light travels through the rock influences its perceived color.

What are the different varieties of Tanzanite?

Yellow Tanzanite is available - Rare yellow transparent Zoisite from city of Arusha, Tanzania. It is also found in the same deposits associated with Tanzanite and is vitally the same as Tanzanite except for the color, which is quite different.

It can also be certified as:

  • Oval (90)
  • Octagonal (14)
  • Heart (3)
  • Round (2)
  • Square (2)
  • Pear (1)

Where are the best mines for Tanzanite located?

In the year 1990, the Tanzanian government split up the tanzanite mines in four different sections: Blocks A, B, C, and D to enable people to Buy high-quality Tanzanite.. The blocks A and C were assigned to the large operators, whereas Blocks B and D were reserved to be assigned to local miners. In 2005 the Tanzanian government renewed the lease of Block C mine for Tanzanite One, who paid 40 million $ for their lease and their mining license. 

In the month of June 2003, the Tanzanian government introduced legislation banning the export of unprocessed Tanzanite to India. (Like many other gemstones, most Tanzanite is cut in Rajasthan.) The reason for the ban was to attempt to spur the development of local processing facilities, thereby boosting the economy and recouping profits. This ban was phased in over two years until only stones over 0.5 grams were affected. In the year 2010, the government of Tanzania banned the export of rough stones weighing more than one gram.

Richland Resources own TanzaniteOne Mining Ltd, but a 2010 law in Tanzania required them to cede the 50% ownership of their mining license to the Tanzanian State Mining Company. Production in 2011 amounted to around 2,400,000 carats, earning them $24 million

How to determine the value of Tanzanite?

There is no legally and uni accepted method of grading colored gemstones. Tanzanite One, a major commercial player in the tanzanite market, has introduced its color-grading system through its non-profit subsidiary, the Tanzanite Foundation. This has enabled people to Buy high-quality Tanzanite. The new system's color grading scales divide tanzanite colors into a range of hues, between bluish violet, indigo, and violetish-blue.

The standard primary and secondary hues in Tanzanite stone are blue and violet. Untreated Tanzanite is like a trichroic gemstone, meaning that light that enters this anisotropic crystal gets refracted on different paths, with additional color absorption on each of the three optical axes. After heating, Tanzanite turns dichroic. The dichroic colors range from violet color through bluish-violet to indigo and violetish-blue to blue colors.

Clarity grading in colored gemstones is entirely based on the eye-clean standard; which means, a gem is considered perfect if no inclusions are visible with the unaided eye. The Gemological Institute of USA classifies Tanzanite as a Type I gemstone, meaning it usually is eye-clean. Gems with eye-visible inclusions are traded at deep discounts.

How can Iris gems help you in buying high-quality Tanzanite?

We understand the importance of having a vast selection of gemstones to help our customers choose from. Explore our king-sized collection and discover some hidden gems. Over the years, we have curated an unrivaled collection of rare, inimitable, untreated, and certified (Gubelin, SSEF, AGL, GRS, GIA) stones. Could you write to us to know more?

At Iris, we can undertake large customized orders. We have always delighted our customers by giving them timely delivery of stones that fit perfectly in their jewelry. We have one simple goal: to win over customers, to truly please them by delivering excellent products and service way beyond their expectations, to earn their trust, and build relationships that will endure.

Our Resources & Capabilities

We have worked diligently to enhance our resources & capabilities. Some of them are listed below.

  • Easy access to stones because of our international network of suppliers and the trust we have built over decades.
  • In-house cutting in Asia and in-house gemologists are available to ensure quality. We can give you consistent quality because we have the cutting machines and skilled people to cut precisely up to 1/10th of a degree.
  • We do single stones, matched pairs as well as parcels. And we can undertake large custom cutting orders.
  •  We offer consistent supply and timely delivery to those who Buy high-quality Tanzanite.
  • Our stones are perfectly calibrated, have precise facets, and set easily in your jewelry.
  • Certifications from Gubelin, SSEF, GRS, GIA, AGL are available to Buy high-quality Tanzanite.

Explore our tanzanite collection here