Tanzanite and Zoisite

green tanzanite

Tanzanite is a gemstone that is relatively new to the scene and has gained very significant popularity and acclaim as a gem. It was discovered in Tanzania, in an eastern portion of Africa. The only place it is known to reside is in the Merelani Hills in Tanzania. Upgrading the capabilities of the mines made tanzanite considerably easier to obtain and more affordable to purchase between the 1960's, when it was first unearthed, until quite recently. Unfortunately, there occurred a mining disaster in 1998 in which many miners were killed and caused the closing of the mine. Due to this event, the price of tanzanite has risen significantly.

Tanzanite is composed of the mineral called zoisite which is calcium-aluminum silicate. When found in nature, the rock crystal tends to be brown in color. It is through heat treatment that its coloration is caused to range from blues to purples and into violet hues. It is suggested that the bluer versions of tanzanite are to be most prized. These may actually have the appearance of a very in- tensely blue sapphire. In its purple and violet forms this stone may share some of the colors of amethyst, although they look quite different and much richer in color. It, more rarely, is seen occurring as a wonderfully green gemstone and even more rarely sharing greens, purples, blues, even brown and bronze colors. Such stones, however, are very difficult to locate and would be considered more a collector's item.

When looking at and choosing a tanzanite remember, the larger the stone, the more intense the color will be. As with most any gemstone, a smaller stone generally carries with it less intensity of color. To get a really serious color, it will likely require a stone of a three to four carats or more. When selecting a tanzanite for inclusion in a piece of jewelry, bear in mind that it is relatively soft as well as being fragile, making it about as easy to injure as an emerald. And, in case you did not know, emeralds are quite easy to injure. Each of the following images show tanzanite jewelry I've made. Please click on them to go to the page for each.

tanzanite and tsavorite ring
tanzanite and rubellite ring
tanzanite and sapphire ring
tanzanite and carved rose quartz pendant