Tanzanite : The December Birthstone

Tanzanite : The December Birthstone

Tanzanite, the captivating blue-violet variety of the mineral zoisite, is relatively new to the gemstone-loving world, yet it has soared in popularity since its discovery. Found exclusively in the Merelani Hills of Northern Tanzania, the stone was first unearthed in 1967 and is celebrated for its rarity and breathtaking color. Here is an exploration into the enchanting world of tanzanite, the birthstone for December.
Discovery and Name

The discovery of tanzanite is as dramatic as the stone itself. A Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense blue crystals in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Mistaken at first for sapphire, it was soon identified as a new variation of zoisite. The name "tanzanite" was coined by Tiffany & Co., who became its main distributor, emphasizing its exclusive geographic origin.


Color and Features

Tanzanite is treasured for its unique color spectrum, ranging from a pure rich blue to violet, with the velvety depth of color seen in no other gemstone. This is due to the presence of vanadium in the crystal structure. Tanzanite is also trichroic, which means that it shows different colors when viewed from different angles: blue, violet, and burgundy. Upon cutting and heating (usually at low temperatures), the burgundy hue diminishes, giving prominence to the coveted blue-violet spectrum.

Symbolism and Meaning

Tanzanite is more than a beautiful stone; it holds significant meaning. It is believed to represent transformation and wisdom and is often given to celebrate new beginnings or to bestow prosperity and success. It is also associated with qualities of good luck and long life. In the realm of healing, it's thought to stimulate the throat and third-eye chakras, enhancing communication and psychic powers.

Rarity and Value

With its sole source being a small area in Tanzania, tanzanite is considered a thousand times rarer than diamonds. The mines are expected to be depleted within the next few decades, adding to the stone's exclusivity and value. The finest quality stones display a deeply saturated blue with a violet pleochroic flash and are free from visible inclusions.

Care and Handling

Tanzanite ranks at 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it requires careful handling to avoid scratches and chips. The stone should not be exposed to sudden temperature changes or rough wear. It's recommended to be set in protective styles for rings, or better yet, in pendants and earrings to minimize potential damage.

Tanzanite in Jewelry

In jewelry, tanzanite is both versatile and striking. It is often set in fine gold or platinum to complement its cool tones. Artisans craft it into all types of jewelry, from engagement rings that offer a unique take on tradition to pendants, earrings, and bracelets that showcase its alluring color. Tanzanite is especially sought after for special occasion pieces, given its luxe appeal and the deep connection to the land of its origin.
tanzanite ring

The birthstone for December, tanzanite, is a symbol of rarity and beauty. It not only marks the pride of Tanzania but also the individuality of those who wear it. Its profound blue and violet hues capture the imagination and have quickly made it one of the most beloved gemstones in the world. Whether it is chosen for its stunning color, its rich symbolism, or its intriguing origin, tanzanite is a gemstone that truly enchants and inspires.

tanzanite ring

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