It is as blue as sapphire, as precious as an emerald, desired like a ruby: can you recognize a tanzanite? And are you able to say why it’s called that? Read here.
From its name, tanzanite, it is easy to guess the origin of the December lucky gem: Tanzania. Linked to the Masai culture since ancient times for its intense blue color, this gem is considered sacred by this warrior people. His name is rather recent, because it was coined in 1969 by Henry Platt, vice-president of Tiffany, who launched it on the international market.
Characteristics: from a mineral point of view it is a zoisite, while from a gemological point of view it is the unique color that makes it so interesting. In fact, each crystal has blue, red-violet and bronze tones depending on the amount of chrome and vanadium present in it. The shade of the stone is the combination of these three colors. Because the deep blue is the most valuable, at the time of cutting you look for the angle with the strongest blue color. But the operation must be done by expert hands, because it is a stone with a split in one direction and is easy to chip, as it is relatively soft.
Color: its famous blue is inimitable. It has a purple tinge and then a purple that is lower than that of amethyst and superior to that of blue sapphire, to which it resembles, even if it is less harsh. All natural stones are heat treated to eliminate the most opaque gray, greenish or brownish tone. There are also yellow, green, orange, pink and bicolor blue-green specimens.
Where it is found: it is extracted in a single field in the world, that of Merelani Hills in Arusha, Tanzania. A vast area just under 20 square kilometers.
Evaluation: usually the stone is without inclusions visible to the naked eye and is not even noticed with the magnifying glass: it generally has a good degree of purity. Two important aspects because transparency and absence of inclusions enhance its color. M.d.B.