To discover tanzanite is a moment I never forget! One day, a few years back we travel to Canada and stop at a shopping mall, near the water. We walk around, passing time until it is time for our boat trip. When my eye catches the most bluish earrings I ever saw in my life. It is love at first sight. The color of the gemstones is so intense that I want to buy them. The lady in the shop tells me that the earrings are made of tanzanite, the most bluish gemstone in the world.
The earrings watch me and tell me ‘we want to be yours’. Anyway, that is spinning in my head. I am totally flabbergasted by the color, the beauty, and the simplicity of the earrings, which makes them one of a kind. The lady sees that I am interested and tells me a bit about the gemstone tanzanite.
You find the gemstone Tanzanite only in Tanzania
You find Tanzanite only in Tanzania, at the foot of the Kilimanjaro mountain. It’s the only commercial mine in the world and only in about 20 square kilometers or 12 square miles, this gemstone is found. This area is in the middle of the Masai area (a local tribe) and they know this gemstone already for a long time and never realize the value of the stones. In 1967 Mr de Souza ‘discovered’ this gem and Tiffany’s make it popular, and calls this blue zoisite ‘tanzanite’.
A gemstone with a lot of sites
The lady gives me a closer look and shows me some other tanzanite jewelry. And there is something funny about this gemstone. When I look at the top of the stone it is the most bluish gemstone in the world. But when you look at another angle the color changes to violet, purple and reddish. Very strange and very beautiful: this is called pleochroism.
Finally, the most important question is ‘what is the price of these earrings?’. I keep my breath and after she tells me that -unlike most tanzanite gemstones- these tanzanites set in the earrings have a natural color, and are not heated. That happens a lot in order to intensify the blue color, but the disadvantage is that the effect of the pleochroism fades a bit. OK, lady, just tell me the price of these jewels…
The gemstone Tanzanite is a bit expensive
With a big smile, she says that the price was $16.000. I know I have expensive taste, but this is a bit much. To say the least. She sees my reaction and smiles a bit arrogant as if she wants to say ‘I know this is too expensive’. Grrr. But she as a well-trained businesswoman she shows me the heated tanzanite jewelry. They are about 80% cheaper, and the gemstones that look a bit like the tanzanite, like the blue topaz, the aquamarine, or the even more expensive sapphire.
This is the end of my tanzanite dream. And still, I think that maybe one day… I buy or get those most bluish gemstones in the world in the most beautiful earrings you find. I keep on dreaming.
Tips when you own tanzanite or want to buy one
When you are a lucky and well to do lady who can afford these beauties, you can use these tips/advice:
Tanzanite has a hardness of about 6.5 on the scale of Mohr. This means that tanzanite scratches easily and the gemstone easily breaks or split. Better not buy a ring or bracelet with tanzanite, unless you wear them only at parties.
When you want to clean tanzanite use soft hand soap and a clean cloth to dry your precious tanzanite jewelry. Or go to a well-informed jeweler to clean it. Don’t use ultrasonic or steam cleaning. The tanzanite does not like it and the color can be attached.
Do not leave the tanzanite in the sun or extreme heat. The color may be affected.
Every 2 weeks I write a few awesome tips about jewelry and gemstones down and send them to the people who are interested. When you are… and when you want to receive these tips too. Let me know where I can send them to.
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