Tantalising Tanzanite: December’s New Birthstone

tanzanite jewellery

QUICK LINKS: 1. The Tanzanite Tale | 2. Tiffany and Tanzanite? | 3. Tanzanite’s Tricolour Magic? | 4. Tanzanite TLC | 5. The Tanzanite Legacy

Move over Turquoise and Zircon; there’s a new December birthstone in town that’s capturing the hearts of gem enthusiasts and fashionistas alike – Tanzanite! This mesmerising blue-violet gem, discovered in the late 1960s, is a relative newcomer in the gem world and a charm that’s hard to resist. Join us in our third instalment of delightful December birthstones and explore the world of tanzanite and its Tiffany connection.

The Tanzanite Tale:

Tanzanite’s story begins in the ridges of Mererani in Tanzania. Picture this: a Goan tailor, a serendipitous discovery, and a stroke of geological luck. In 1967, a tailor and part-time gold prospector, Manuel De Soza stumbled upon a cluster of shimmering blue crystals, and was stumped with his unknown discovery. These crystals were then shown to John Saul, a geologist and gemstone dealer mining near Mount Kenya. John was also unable to identify this new blue gem, so he sent samples to his father, Hyman Saul, the vice president of Saks Fifth Avenue New York. Hyman took these mysterious stones across the street to the Gemological Association of America. Correct identification determined these were an unknown variety of blue zoisite.

Africa landscape Tanzania

Tiffany and Tanzanite:

Meet the mastermind behind the makeover, Henry B. Platt, the great-grandson of Louis Comfort Tiffany and a VP at Tiffany’s; Platt was in the business of making gemstones sound as fabulous as they looked. Scientifically, our star was known as “blue zoisite”, which, to Henry, sounded too much like “blue suicide”. And so, “blue zoisite” went through a Tiffany transformation into the tantalising “tanzanite.” Tiffany’s original advertising campaign declared that tanzanite could now be found in two places: “in Tanzania and at Tiffany’s”.

Tanzanite's Tricolour Magic:

What makes tanzanite truly magic is its remarkable colour range, from deep blues to royal violet hues, as you peer into the gem. The secret behind this vivid display lies in tanzanite’s trichroic nature – the ability to exhibit different colours when viewed from different angles.

tanzanite gemstone

Tanzanite TLC:

While tanzanite is undeniably captivating, handling it with care is essential. Because it is lower on the Mohs hardness scale than diamonds and sapphires, it can scratch or chip. Avoid exposure to cleaning chemicals and extreme temperatures, and always store your tanzanite jewellery separately to avoid scratching from harder gemstones.

hands holding gemstone

The Tanzanite Legacy:

Beyond its visual appeal, tanzanite has created a positive impact on the community where it was discovered. The gemstone has become a source of pride for Tanzanians, contributing to the country’s economy and fostering a sense of identity. Ethical sourcing and responsible mining practices are becoming increasingly important in the gemstone industry, and tanzanite is a shining example of how gemstones can bring beauty and benefit to the communities involved.

In the realm of gemstones, tanzanite is a true standout – a gem with a captivating backstory, a rich blend of colours, and a growing presence in the world of fashion and culture. Whether you’re a gem enthusiast, a December baby, or someone simply looking to add a touch of elegance to your life, tanzanite might just be the perfect choice.

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