Tanzanite is the official birthstone for the month of December, and is a relatively new-comer to the world gemstone stage.
Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found exclusively in this tiny area of the world, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured.
It was discovered in 1967 by Masai tribesman, Ali Juuyawatu in the hills of Northern Tanzania, which remains the sole source of Tanzanite to this day.
The stone was given its name by Tiffany & Co, who heavily promoted the gemstone, resulting in its sudden popularity.
It is considered to be a valuable spiritual stone that can be used in order to relate to other realms or for meditation. Tanzanite is thought to inspire compassion and to encourage calmness.
It is also believed to be helpful in facilitating communication and solving problems. This makes tanzanite a stone for higher consciousness, implementation of desires, self-expression, creativity, wisdom and communication.
Tanzanite is the blue to violet to purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It is also pleochroic, which means that it shows different colours depending on the viewing angle.
The vivid blue of this gemstone can rival fine sapphire and makes it an extremely desirable gemstone. This attractive colour is so sought after that tanzanite is usually heat-treated to enhance its blue and violet colours.
As it can be less expensive than sapphire, it often was purchased as an alternative. However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as a sapphire substitute.
Since it exhibits perfect cleavage, tanzanite gemstones and jewellery should be protected from hard blows, which could cause damage. Therefore, it should be worn in protected settings, such as bezel settings, and not worn daily in pronged settings.
Tanzanite gemstones and jewellery should not be subjected to extreme heat or sudden temperature changes. Additionally, tanzanite should not be exposed to acid. Avoid the use of ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
The best way to clean this gemstone is by using soapy water, soft toothbrush and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue.
Always remove any jewellery or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in vigorous physical activities such as sport.
Store tanzanite gemstones away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box.
We hope this article has given you a bit more of a background on tanzanite, but should you have any additional questions about this or any other jewellery related topics, you can always: “Ask the Jeweller”
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