TANZANITE: December Birthstone
Tanzanite is a birthstone for December, along with zircon and turquoise. It is also the gem for a 24th anniversary. Tanzanite is the violet blue to blue violet variety of the mineral zoisite. It is mined commercially only in one area of the world: the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, which is where it gets its name. The fact that it only has this one source makes tanzanite rarer than a diamond.
Tanzanite – named after the only place in the world where this gemstone can be found, Tanzania. Tanzanite is relatively new to the colored stone galaxy. As the most common story of the tanzanite mining boom goes, in 1967 a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense violet-to-blue crystals weathering out of the earth in Merelani, an area of northern Tanzania. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d'Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims. D’Souza hoped that he’d been shown a new sapphire deposit. Instead, the deposit contained one of the newest of the world’s gems. Since then its popularity has seen rapid growth, which is not surprising when you see its amazing color - vibrant blue tones with a hint of purple.
Tanzanite is a versatile gemstone that comes in a variety of sizes and cutting styles. Although it was only discovered in the late 1960s, it has quickly established itself as one of the premier gemstones in the world. The assessment of the following characteristics determines a tanzanite’s value.
- COLOR. Tanzanite's appearance is influenced greatly by its pleochroism, which is the ability of a gemstone to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions. Today, most gems are heat treated, which removes or reduces the yellow green or brownish pleochroic color, maximizing the blue and violet .In exceptional tanzanites, the color is an intense violetish blue with red flashes of pleochroic color coming from within the stone. Due to the gem’s strong pleochroism, fashioned examples typically show a mix of both blue and violet colors in a wide range of tones. As with most colored gemstones, paler colors are more available and affordable than saturated ones. Most blue tanzanites for sale today owe their color to heat treatment, which is what reveals the gem’s attractive pleochroic blues and violets. As trade professionals assume the majority of the tanzanite on the market has been heated in some way, there’s little effect on pricing. In many cases, it’s challenging for gemological laboratories to determine whether a tanzanite has been heated.
- CUT. Tanzanite is available in a wide range of shapes but cushion, trillions and oval cuts are most common. Cutting plays an important role in tanzanite’s color display. Because of its pleochroism—the ability to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions—cutting direction determines the gem’s overall face-up color. Cutters consider financial realities when they decide how to cut tanzanite. As with other gems, weight lost is profit lost. Cutting a tanzanite to emphasize the violet-to-purple color usually wastes less rough than cutting it to get a violetish blue color. That's part of the reason face-up violet-purple tanzanites are more plentiful than specimens with a stronger blue color component.But this decision must be balanced against the higher per-carat price that the finer violetish blue color might bring. The cutter essentially makes a choice between a smaller top-color gem and a larger violet-purple one.
- CLARITY. Much of the tanzanite sold for jewelry has inclusions that can be seen only under magnification, so any eye-visible inclusions cause a drop in value. Also, any inclusions that might pose durability problems, such as fractures, lower tanzanite value greatly.
- CARAT WEIGHT. Tanzanite is available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and faceting designs. The finest and deepest colors are usually seen in sizes over 5 carats. Smaller stones are often less intense in color.
Tanzanite Care & Cleaning
With a hardness of 6 to 7, tanzanite is softer than many gems. Exercise a little caution with tanzanite rings. A setting that surrounds the tanzanite with metal or gems will help protect it. With proper care to avoid hard blows, tanzanite can be worn in all styles of jewelry. Other than heating, tanzanite is rarely treated, but might have fractures. Only clean fracture-filled gemstones with warm, soapy water.
How To Wear Tanzanite Jewelry
With hints of violet, this beautiful blue gemstone is the perfect choice for any occasion. Tanzanite stud earrings are a classic option when you are getting ready for a regular day at work. On the other hand, a stylish tanzanite pendant can be a great accessory for a casual outing with your friends. When dressing up for a special event or a date night, a tanzanite ring embellished with diamonds is just what you need. This dazzling bluish-purple gemstone looks luxurious, and is sure to grab attention and be a conversation starter.
Tanzanite Jewelry in Boca Raton
If your loved ones birthday is in the month of December, a piece of tanzanite jewelry will make the perfect gift for the holidays. If you're looking for tanzanite jewelry in Boca Raton, stop by Devon's Diamonds & Decor to view our beautiful selection of tanzanite pieces.