10 Cool Facts About December’s OTHER Other Birthstone, Tanzanite!

tanzanite december birthstoneCompleting our series on the trifecta of December birthstones, this week we look at the blue and beautiful tanzanite!  While turquoise and zircon are probably better known, the brilliant and dazzling tanzanite makes for eye-catching earrings, rings, necklaces and other jewelry.

Formed around 585 million years ago, this gemstone has now been known for 50 years since its discovery in 1967.  Here are some cool facts you may not know about tanzanite:

  1. Tanzanite was first discovered by Manuel d’Souza in the Merelani Hills in Northern Tanzania near Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967.

  2. Tanzanite is considered a very rare gemstone as it is not found worldwide.  It can only be found in a mining area near the Mirerani Hills in Tanzania.  The mining area is small, measuring about 7 km (4.35 mi) long and 2 km (1.24 mi) wide.

  3. With a hardness of 6 to 7 on the Mohs Scale, tanzanite is not especially hard, making it a stone that you do not want to wear if you’re going to be active and there is a chance of bumps, knocks or scrapes.

  4. Tanzanite is the blue and violet variety of the mineral zoisite.  Zoisite itself, while not as well known as other more popular gemstones, is also fashioned into jewelry when the stone is transparent.  Translucent specimens are typically carved into ornamental pieces.

  5. While tanzanite is typically blue or violet in color, the way the stone refracts light causes shades of cyan, purple, brown, red, green and yellow to be visible.

  6. Buyer beware!  Due to the rarity of this gem and desirability of its hue, some tanzanites with less spectacular color have been found to have been treated with a non-permanent coating containing cobalt to improve the color.  This is a fairly recent discovery and in the US it is required that this information is disclosed before the sale.

  7. The name Tanzanite was given to this gemstone in 1968 by Tiffany’s in honor of the gem’s country of origin, Tanzania

  8. It is regarded by gemologists as the most beautiful blue gemstone to be discovered in 2000 years and the value of the stone is determined by how deep the color is.

  9. Some specialists call tanzanite the “gemstone of the 20th century” and it became the third recognized December birthstone in 2002.

  10. Regarded by psychics as powerful healing crystals that can activate and integrate energy, this birthstone is considered one of the most valuable metaphysical healing stones.

For more information about this beautiful gem and other precious and semi-precious gems, contact us today!