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The blue and/or violet variety of the mineral zoisite, tanzanite has quickly risen to prominence since its initial 1967 discovery. However, despite this meteoric rise, some within the industry remain unconvinced. This is due in part to the unprecedented levels of sales hype that have been lavished upon the material, but also legitimate concerns about durability and the fact that tanzanite’s blue coloration is almost always induced artificially via the heat treatment of previously brownish zoisite.

Believing that the new material’s species name sounded too similar to “suicide”, it was Tiffany & Co. who re-branded the gemstone in honour of the country that was, and remains, its only source locality. In fact, the world’s entire known supply of tanzanite is located within a single eight-square-kilometer area of land in northern Tanzania’s Arusha region, with production from this sole locality having declined significantly in recent years.

Tanzanite Characteristics

  • Hardness: 6.5
  • Color:  Royal blue, indigo, violet/purple
  • Chemical composition: (Ca2Al3(SiO4)(Si2O7)O(OH)) + (Cr,Sr)
  • Crystal system: Orthorhombic
  • Crystal habit: Prismatic crystals with striations; massive to columnar
  • Refractive index: 1.69–1.70

Tanzanite History

Tanzanite is relatively new to the colored stone galaxy. As the most common story of the tanzanite mining boom goes, in 1967 a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense violet-to-blue crystals weathering out of the earth in Merelani, an area of northern Tanzania. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims.

D’Souza hoped that he’d been shown a new sapphire deposit. Instead, the deposit contained one of the newest of the world’s gems.

Within a short time, 90 more claims appeared in the same 20-square-mile area. No one was quite sure what the beautiful crystals were, but everyone wanted to lay claim to the profits they were certain to produce. The new gem would eventually be known as tanzanite, and it would, at times, rival the Big 3 in popularity.

Tiffany & Company recognized its potential as an international seller and made a deal to become its main distributor. Tiffany named the gem after the country it came from, and promoted it with a big publicity campaign in 1968. Almost overnight, tanzanite was popular with leading jewelry designers and other gem professionals, as well as with customers who had an eye for beautiful and unusual gems.

The instant popularity of this transparent blue-to-violet gem was tied to its vivid color, high clarity, and potential for large cut stones.

Source of Tanzanite

Tanzanite’s only known source in the world is a 4km strip of land near Mount Kilimanjaro, northern Tanzania. This single, limited source renders tanzanite at least a thousand times more than diamonds. With only one known source to date, it is predicted that within the next 10 – 12 years no more gem-quality tanzanite will be found. Its geology is so unique that the chances of tanzanite occurring elsewhere in the world are highly unlikely. Because of this scarcity, tanzanite jewelry is extremely sought-after and valuable.

Color of Tanzanite

Tanzanite has what many would consider the finest blue hue in the world of gemstones. Tanzanite is one of the only trichroic gemstones known to man, meaning it has the ability to display shades of blue, violet, and red. Good quality Tanzanite has a deep royal blue or violet colour. Colours range from rich royal blues or vibrant violet to paler watery shades. The colour dominance depends on whether the gem is cut and polished from the long or the short axis of the crystal-shaped rough tanzanite; and the more intense the colour the better the quality.

Tanzanite Enhancement 

Unlike with other gemstones like Sapphires or Rubies, where heating at extremely high temperatures is used as a way of altering the actual grade of a gemstone, the heating process in no way enhances a Tanzanite’s color saturation levels it simply removes the red/brown axis leaving the blue/violet. A medium grade Tanzanite will appear lightish brown before heating and a medium pale blue/violet after heating. A top grade piece will be a deeply saturated brown before heating and a deep blue/violet after heating. Hence the process is not an enhancement, as it is with some gemstones such as Corundum..

Benefits of Tanzanite

The exquisite purple-blue tanzanite color is at the root of tanzanite meaning. It is a cool blue or purple gemstone that sooths and calms. These are tanzanite properties at the root of tanzanite stone meaning. Tanzanite gemstone colors vary, from deep sapphire blue tanzanite to violet or purple-blue tanzanite. This color variation can be influenced with heat, as evidenced by its origins, and is deeply connected to tanzanite meaning. Like the lightning that started the brush fire which was instrumental in their discovery, these purple gemstones awaken psychic powers and illuminate deeper, more profound thoughts. These tanzanite benefits are at the heart of tanzanite meaning.

The calming, soothing vibrations of this gorgeous blue to purple gemstone provide an easy awakening, in keeping with tanzanite meaning and tanzanite color. The blue zoisite crystals gently open the pathway between the heart and mind, revealing certain truths. Tanzanite meaning is connected to its ability to help you become a kind, compassionate and enlightened person. Tanzanite crystals pave a path to enlightenment, in keeping with tanzanite meaning and the blue zoisite crystal’s origins.

Tanzanite rock can be blue, brown, purple or yellow in its natural state. The most valuable tanzanite gemstones are deep, true blue with just a touch of purple around the edges. These are the tanzanite colors linked to the illuminated, truthful thinking at the heart of tanzanite meaning. Tanzanite stones that are more brown or yellow, and sometimes those that are a little more purple than they should be, are “treated” with heat, much like that flash of lightning that started the brush fire. This heat treatment does not harm the tanzanite crystals or change their structure. Even the heat-treated crystals have tanzanite benefits in keeping with tanzanite meaning. The heat just helps them achieve the true blue to purple-blue tanzanite color that is at the heart of tanzanite meaning.

Blue or purple-blue tanzanite is a wonderful gemstone for those in need of spiritual healing. It resonates or vibrates at a high rate which makes for a quick but gentle connection with angelic realms, spirit guides and higher consciousness. Tanzanite gemstone energy is highly protective, an aspect in keeping with tanzanite meaning that is invaluable during spiritual healing. The shifting tanzanite colors are highly conducive to raising your level of consciousness. Multi-dimensional cellular healing and karmic healing are easier with tanzanite crystals, in keeping with tanzanite meaning.

Tanzanite has proved to be beneficial in following ways:

  • Physical Healer

Tanzanite is believed to build up the immune system, improve liveliness, and detoxify the blood. It promotes the restoration of cells, skin and hair, and shelter against the offshoots of surgical or medical involvement. It is also believed to bring out one from the state of comatose or exhaustion.

Tanzanite is also thought to be caring towards the psychological turmoil, trauma, and nervous tension and is exceptionally good for those who suffer excessive sweating. It may alleviate the severe pains of migraine and in conjunction to all this it is also believed to cure the problem of chronic alcoholism.

  • Emotional Healer

Tanzanite produces the energy in the body of the wearer, which brings pleasure and relief from the unnecessary tensions. It opens the insight of the wearer and inspires him to feel more compassionate and loving.

Tanzanite helps in triumphing over experiences of disasters and fear and re-builds the trust of the wearer. It helps in solving the queries related to the meaning of life. Tanzanite allows one to be grounded and express the true feelings.

  • Spiritual Healer

The high vibrational energies of Tanzanite and its power of shifting colors elevate the consciousness of the wearer. It links to spirit guides, Ascended Masters, angelic realms, and Christ realization. It helps in deep profound meditation and also assists the wearer to accept the changes of life. It is also a stone that supports karmic healing.

  • Heals and Balances Chakra

Tanzanite stimulates the Third Eye, Throat, and Crown Chakras, connecting the higher mind with impulse and communication. Tanzanite encompasses a blue crystal energy that inspires the Throat chakra, which is considered as the voice of the body. By unblocking the throat chakra, Tanzanite lets the wearer express openly, and without hesitation his beliefs, thoughts and ideas. Tanzanite is also considered great for unblocking the brow or the third eye chakra thereby directing the wearer and keeping his inner strength healthy and vibrant.

Tanzanite also heals and balances the crown chakra, which is the fountainhead of the spirituality and the beliefs a person encompasses. When the crown chakra is in balance the wearer feels tranquil and calm in any situation whether good or bad and does not lose the temper fast.

Care Instruction

The beautiful violet tones of tanzanite are formed by a traditional heating process, so this gem should not be exposed to sudden temperature changes of either extreme heat or cold. However, the color is not affected by strong light. Ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners, and boiling may damage the stone or affect the color and should never be used. Instead, use warm soapy water, allow to air dry and polish with an untreated cloth. Avoid using hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acids.

Although tanzanite is a hard stone (Mohs hardness 6-1/2 to 7), it should still be handled like the rare gem that it is. If you struggle to avoid bumping or scraping your jewelry throughout the day, consider earrings as a safe option for displaying this gem. Avoid laying your tanzanite jewelry face down on hard surfaces after you take it off.