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What You Need to Know About Tanzanite

Tanzanite is the birthstone for December. This remarkably popular gem was discovered during the late 1960s in Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley. A relative newcomer to the gem and jewelry scene, the last 30 years have seen Tanzanite establish itself with great success, becoming America’s #1 selling gem after blue sapphire. Its meteoric surge in popularity had taken the gem world by surprise.

Although actually a blue variety of zoisite, Henry Platt of Tiffany & Co., coined the more appealing name Tanzanite, after its country of origin. Its beauty and impressive value-for-money underlie the secret to its success. Compared to ruby, sapphire and emerald, the affordability of tanzanite gives the consumer more sparkling gem for less money.

Colour is the most important factor in tanzanite

Popularized by beautifully rich purple-blue colours, Tanzanite frequently displays a deep intensity that is found nowhere else in the gemstone kingdom. Attractive eye-catching red flashes of fire often augment tanzanite’s spectacular colour. This “trichroic” (gem showing three colours) light property is unparalleled by other gems. As with most other coloured gemstones, the richer the colour of the specimen, the more desirable it is.

Tips for wearing tanzanite 

Tanzanite should be worn with care, never be cleaned by the ultrasonic method and never come into contact with acids. Since the majority of Tanzanite is heat-treated to bring out its colour, it is important for a goldsmith to take proper precautions before doing any work on Tanzanite jewellery. Use a soft soap and warm water combination to clean your beautiful Tanzanite jewellery.


Colin Nash,
Certified Gemologist Appraiser,
Nash Jewellers


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