Tanzanite comes from… Tanzania! The public thought it to be a newly discovered variety of Zoisite when it was branded by Tiffany’s in 1969 in the jewellery district of New York city. But before that, it was called and it was available as Blue Zoisite, from Tanzanite. The branding worked and today, due to their marketing program, Tanzanite is as well known as most of the “old reliable” gems. At first it was considered a curiosity and was very modestly priced, then it caught on and now it is as expensive as Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire.
Tanzanite is composed of Calcium Aluminum Silicate and it exhibits very strong Pleochroism. That means a stone can show two or more colours depending on which direction it is viewed from. Tanzanite actually is trichroic, or it has three distinct colours that can be viewed, depending on haw the stone is cut. On the long axis, it usually shows a purplish colour, from the side it will appear more blue. These colours are modified by the type of light it is seen in; in artificial light the Amethyst shades come to the fore, in sunlight more Sapphire blue to ultramarine. The ugly stepsister colour is a reddish brown to bronze. This third colour is the one that the cutters try to minimize when they consider what size and shape to cut from the rough. An excellent cutter can coax a very fine coloured gem under diverse light conditions. An adequate cutter can totally destroy the potential of a fine stone and end up with a stone showing a brownish mess.
Tanzanite is a difficult stone to service, as it is extremely sensitive to extreme temperature changes and can actually shatter if the change occurs too quickly. It should always be unset before any service is attempted. And although it resembles Sapphire in colour, it is much softer and therefore more prone to chipping and cracking. Tanzanite is best “off the hand” or, if it must be put into a ring, the setting should protect the stone as if it were an Opal or Pearl. Otherwise, if the stone is worn regularly, it will require refinishing every few years.
We have many fine Tanzanites in stock, unset and set, in Gold and Platinum, with and without Diamonds. Please feel free to come in and choose a fine Tanzanite from our collection.