Gemstones Uncovered: Tanzanite

TanzaniteTanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone of a bluish hue with a hint of purple around the edges. The name is borrowed from the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found. Despite its rarity and limited supply, tanzanite is a comparatively inexpensive choice for gemstone jewelry.

As far as history goes, tanzanite is one of the newest gemstones to be discovered – Manuel de Souza was the first to discover it; he found the transparent fragments of vivid blue and blue-purple gem crystals in the Mereani Hills of Northern Tanzania in 1967. Most tanzanite is found near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The world’s largest faceted tanzanite to date is 737.81 carats. One of the most famous large tanzanites is the “Queen of Kilimanjaro” at 242 carats, which is set in a diamond and tsarvorite garnet tiara set in 18 karat white gold, shown above.

Unlike emeralds, tanzanite is classified as a Type I gemstone, meaning it is normally eye-flawless. Coupled with their vivid blue hues, it is common to find beautiful tanzanites that are similar to sapphires in appearance but at a fraction of the price.

At Secret Sapphire in Vancouver, we carry a variety of gemstone jewelry with some tanzanite pieces as well. If you have something specific in mind, Monica Tsao – certified gemologist and jewelry designer – can help you realize your jewelry vision.