Tanzanite Meaning and Properties

Zoisite, Tanzanite or Skaiblu, no matter what you call it, tanzanites are a beautifully rare gemstone. Tanzanites are 1000x rarer than diamonds and are so popular that all tanzanite will only be available to a single generation. But just what makes these chameleon stones so wondrous, rare and mysterious? You’re going to have to read on to find out.

Tanzanite Properties

One of tanzanites most interesting properties is its ability to display different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed. The three colors most tanzanites display are blue, violet and an orangey salmon. Any other colors are usually faintly visible in the corners. Smaller tanzanites tend to appear more lavender. Tanzanites over 5 carats display a rich deep color that is most coveted.

Photo credit TanzaniteOne

In its rough state, tanzanites appear reddish brown. Since tanzanites are valued for their blue violet shade, the stones are heated to 500° Fahrenheit to eliminate the brown orange color. While most other gemstones such as sapphires and rubies are heated to enhance their clarity, tanzanite heating only brings out the color present in the stone and does not create a higher quality gemstone. Learn to buy a high-quality tanzanite with this buying guide.

One of the most inconvenient tanzanite properties’ is that is it only a 6.5 on the Mohs scale; therefore, it isn’t recommended for active people or for jewelry that might experience a lot of bumps and scratches. Because of its relative softness, special care should be given when cleaning a tanzanite. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended. Tanzanites are also prone to cleavage so it is best to avoid sudden temperature changes. Learn how to clean your jewelry

Where is Tanzanite found?

Tanzanite is created under conditions that are so geologically unique that there is less than a million to one chance that it will happen again. Unlike other gemstones, Tanzanite is only found in one place—in the entire world—Tanzania, at the foot of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of three freestanding volcanic peaks that are the result of massive tectonic activity that created one of the most minerally abundant places on earth known as the Mozambique Orogenic Belt. With all of the folding and faulting that took place millions of years ago, different combinations of minerals were able to form and reform, producing Africa’s rich gemstone deposits.

The area where Tanzanites are found is small and covers an area of only 4 square kilometers. Since the supply is so limited and because it is unlikely that another deposit will ever be found again, the world’s supply of Tanzanites will be depleted in 10 to 15 years.

The largest tanzanite crystal “The Mawenzi,” was found in 2005 and crystal weighed 16,839 carats. Photo credit TanzaniteOne

Tanzanite Discovery

Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone and was not discovered until the 1960’s. According to legend, tanzanites first became noticeable when lighting started a fire that swept through the hills surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro. Masai herders noticed the newly developed blue color and began to collect the crystals.

Around five years later in 1967 Manuel D’Souza, a hobbyist prospector, came to Tanzania in search of rubies. A local told him about the beautiful blue stones so D’SouZa, thinking they were probably sapphires filed his mining claim.

When he first began mining the crystals he had no idea what they were. On his mining claim he incorrectly identified the crystal as olivine (also known as peridot).  Other prospectors soon followed his lead and began filing incorrect claims for cordierite, epidote, and dumortierite. Not long after, the Tanzanian government geologists finally identified the crystals as Zoisite.

Tiffany and Co. Tanzanites

It was also D’Souza who offered exclusive rights to Tiffany and Co. Tiffany’s launched a wide spread publicity campaign in 1968 and changed the name of the newly discovered zoisite to tanzanite. The named was changed because the technical name, blue zoisite resembled the English word suicide. Tiffany’s eventually abandoned tanzanites because prices fluctuated so erratically due to poorly managed supplies.

Meaning of Tanzanite

Tanzanite was the last gemstone added the birthstone list since 1912 and was assigned to share the month of December with blue Topaz. The Tanzanite Foundation considers Tanzanites the birthstone for all births and began the “Be Born to Tanzanite” campaign. Originally, the Masai gave their wives Tanzanite jewelry following the birth of their first child as a symbol of new beginnings and the Tanzanite Foundation was attempting to spread this tradition.

On a physical level, tanzanites are said to cure stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and depression. It is also thought to slow down the aging process and improve skin and hair by encouraging cell regeneration. Tanzanites are also rumored to be helpful for awakening people from comas.

Tanzanite is a calming stone and is said to enhance composure and harmony. It is the perfect stone for workaholics and helps them take it easy by calming overactive minds. Since the stone promotes balance, it also effectively regulates extreme personalities.

Tanzanites are responsible to giving the wearer understanding and sensitivity. They give a person insight and the power to manifest their desires. As a result, tanzanites bring success, clarity and vision. With regard to sensitivity, tanzanites are said to bring visions and allow a person to connect psychically with ancient wisdom. Tanzanites also give a person the ability to understand their heart, allowing them to speak the truth.

Tanzanites are ideal for a person who wishes to set themselves apart. Tanzanites symbolize unconventional elegance and individuality and are said to bestow confidence and a sophisticated personality.

Find Tanzanite statement jewelry at Ziva Jewels.

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