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Tanzanite Jewelry

What is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a calcium aluminum silicate. Though it is called tanzanite, for its place of origin, it is actually a variety of zoisite gemstone. The deposits at the base of Kilimanjaro began forming eons ago when a variety of metamorphic rocks formed a small flat-topped hill. Inside, the gemstones we know as tanzanite grew. They were discovered by a member of the Masaai tribe that is located in this area of Merelani in the eastern part of Tanzania.

The most popular shade of tanzanite is blue with just a blush of violet. As you tilt and move your tanzanite ring, you can see mostly blue or mostly purple depending on the angle and the light. However, there can be a yellowish-brown hue embedded in the color and this is less desirable. Jewelers can eliminate this tint by heating the stone to 500 degrees.

A Maasai tribesman was the first to see the gleaming gemstones at the base of Kilimanjaro in 1967. Once world-renowned jewelers Tiffany & Co. got wind of it, tanzanite jewelry was thrust into the spotlight. The great grandson of founder Louis Tiffany, Henry Platt, is the one who gave the stone its name for the place of origin. In 1968, the company reveled in the fact that the only places to find tanzanite were in Tanzania and in their stores. tanzanite necklaces , tanzanite earrings) and tanzanite rings were flying out of the cases.

Rarity of Tanzanite

For as beautiful as this unique gemstone is, it is also very rare. So far, there is only one mine deposit, which means that supplies are very limited. Because of its rarity, fabulous quality stones of any size are quite expensive. It also makes it a great heirloom. Pass down your tanzanite ring to your children. It is a beautiful and rare memento to leave behind.

Tanzanite, the newest birthstone

If you were born in December, as of 2002 you can claim the tanzanite as your own. The last time the American Gem Trade Association added a birthstone to month was in 1912. Though a natural tanzanite bracelet may be hard to come by, take this opportunity to get one. It is your birthday after all! But, because of its connection to the celebration of birth and life, you can think of tanzanite as a universal birthstone if you want to. Of course, you don't have to have a reason to buy or wear tanzanite jewelry.

Of course, if you weren't born in December, you have another opportunity to get those tanzanite earrings. Like the months of the year, wedding anniversaries get their own special gemstone to commemorate the year. Tanzanite is the official gem for the 24th wedding anniversary.

Think about a tanzanite and diamond ring for your engagement or wedding ring. No longer are diamonds the norm and people are opting for color in their wedding jewels. If you aren't sure about color, go with the palest of blue tanzanite.

Caring for your Tanzanite Jewelry

is relatively soft and, therefore needs to be handled with care. On the Mohs scale of hardness, it rates a 6.5 or 7. By comparison, an opal rates a 5 and a ruby rates a 9. Gentle soap, warm water and a soft cloth are all you need to clean your tanzanite pendants. Ultrasonic cleaners are too rough on the soft stone and chemicals can also damage the finish. Because of its delicate nature, you may want to save your tanzanite bracelet for special occasions or at least be very careful when wearing it. To damage something that is not only beautiful, but rare, would be a shame.

Tanzanite lore

One legend of the origin and discovery of the gemstones is that lightning shot down from the sky and it turned plain crystals into tanzanite. The people who found them believed the stones to be lucky. This legend gives an air of mysticism to the gems.

The color blue is steeped in spirituality and mysticism in this part of Tanzania. In ancient times, on child-bearing women were allowed to wear the color. As a sort of carrying on in this tradition, men of the Masaai tribe gift their wives with tanzanite necklaces when they have a child. It is not only a token to the mother, but it is also supposed to ensure prosperity for the child. You don't have to be a part of the tribe to do this. A tanzanite pendant or necklace is a great way to honor a mother. Think about that when Mother's Day rolls around and you have no idea what to get your mom.

Tanzanite is a unique gemstone to give or get as a gift. Count yourself lucky if you have one and wear it with pride. Unless a new mine deposit is found, there is a finite supply of this wonderfully unique and beautiful gemstone called tanzanite.