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Tantalizing Tanzanite Jewelry

Unlike other gemstones that can be found in a variety of regions and even different continents, tanzanite jewelry originates from one locale- the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. It took very specific conditions to stimulate their geological formation which have not occurred anywhere else in the world. The glittering blue stones found in tanzanite earrings lay at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro until they were discovered in 1967 by a member of the Maasai tribe.

Tanzanite Jewelry: Propelled to fame

The famed Tiffany & Co was instrumental in introducing this new discovery to the world with a huge campaign highlighting it in 1968. In fact, it was the great-grandson of Tiffany & Co founder who named the mysterious gemstone after the region where it was discovered. Not too shabby an entrance for tanzanite necklaces and other pieces onto the world stage was it? The name Tiffany is synonymous with quality and luxury so everyone wanted a piece of the tantalizing tanzanite.

Fortunately, since then, the gemstone has become more mainstream, though the quantities are finite. Unless new deposits are discovered, experts say the existing supply will only last through one generation. Of course, it is this same exclusivity that adds to its appeal.

Tanzanite Jewelry: What makes it tanzanite?

The rich blue violet stones in a tanzanite bracelets are made up of calcium aluminum silicate, which makes it a zoisite. However, what makes it unique in the zoisite family is the presence of vanadium which gives it its brilliant blue shades of color. Because there is a violet undertone, the lighter shades often look more purple than blue. Occasionally, the less desirable brownish-yellow color overshadows the blue violet shade the gem is known for. A skilled cutter can enhance the blues by slowly heating the stone to about 500 degrees. He must carefully watch the process because too much heat can ruin a stone.

Tanzanite Jewelry: Special occasions for a special gemstone

Since this is a fairly new discovery, tanzanite was not around when the official birthstone chart was developed by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912, but it was later added to the modern chart for December in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association. So, for the contemporary girl, a tanzanite birthstone ring makes a perfect birthday or holiday gift.

Another occasion befitting a tanzanite pendant or other jewelry setting is a 24th wedding anniversary. Considering there is nothing on the traditional list of anniversary gifts for this specific year, opting to follow the gemstone chart is a win-win. Of course, the modern gift chart suggests musical instruments.... Jewelry will be received much better, unless maybe she is a professional musician.

Because of its finite quantities, this gemstone makes an excellent heirloom gift. Think about it. If experts predict this supply of gemstones will only last through one generation, a tanzanite ring from mother to daughter becomes that much more meaningful as well as valuable and unique.

Tanzanite Jewelry: Taking care of this rare treasure

Once tanzanite jewelry is added to a collection, it must be taken care of to ensure that it will be around for future generations. Wearing tanzanite does not need to be avoided, but because it can be relatively soft with a ranking of 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it does require gentleness. Less vulnerable settings like tanzanite earrings and necklaces are better, but rings and bracelets are fine as long as the wearer is not too rough on them. Because of this, how they are stored is important too. Do not throw it into a box or bag with diamonds and other hard gems. The stones and their settings can scratch the softer tanzanite if they are jostled around.

Clean the stones in warm water with a gentle soap. To get the dirt, lotion and oils trapped in the setting, gently brush with a soft toothbrush. Never use harsh chemicals and avoid ultrasonic cleaners as it can be too abrasive.

Tanzanite Jewelry: Unique to Tanzania

While this fabulous gemstone is unique to this one region of East Africa, it is not the only jewel deposits in the area. Tanzania will continue to be a major player in the gemstone industry long after its tanzanite deposit has been exhausted. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, amethyst and many other gems are mined here. So, while it enjoys its exclusive claim to fame- the Tanzanite- the region will still be supplying beautiful stones for jewelry.

Beautifully cut into any shape, tanzanite jewelry makes a unique statement. Worn in a dramatic setting for an elegant evening out or a simple adornment worn every day, it is a great investment and addition to any jewelry collection. It looks great in any setting, but it looks especially tantalizing in white gold, platinum or silver. For aficionados, lovers of bling or just the occasional wearer, one piece can finish off even the most discriminating of collections.