What is Tanzanite
Tanzanite is a rare variety of the common mineral zoisite colored by atoms of strontium. It features a unique, strong characteristic, called pleochroism, which allows tanzanite to show two different colors at the same time. It is found in the ground only in the Merelani Hills near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It naturally occurs in yellow, golden brown, green, blue, and purple. This gem was discovered in 1967 and has increased in popularity in part due to its color-changing properties.
Tanzanite Color and Characteristics
Ranging in color from blue to violet, tanzanite is a pleochroic crystal, meaning it changes depending on the light and the direction from which it is viewed. In its original form, dark blue, brown-yellow, and red-purple can be seen in the same stone. After cutting, tanzanite is routinely heated to achieve its rich violet-blue color. This treatment is fully accepted in the trade, is permanent, and no fading will occur. No special care is needed to keep tanzanite this rich color. In natural light, the purple and violet colors are more apparent. In fluorescent lights, the blues are more evident. Tanzanite is often free of inclusions.
Gem quality tanzanite is rare and the raw pieces are often small. It must be handled and cut with care as it is a brittle crystal.
Tanzanite will easily clean with a gentle solution made specifically for jewelry or warm soapy water. Have your jewelry professionally cleaned and checked three to four times a year. When not worn, tanzanite jewelry should be stored in a jewelry box lined with soft fabric. Never clean your tanzanite with an ultrasonic cleaner.
Exotic and unusual, tanzanite makes a beautiful statement. If you wear it in a ring, choose a setting that protects the stone. December birthdays and 24th wedding anniversaries are often celebrated with this beautiful gem.