One day, a few years back we traveled to Canada and stopped at a shopping mall, near the water. We walked around, passing time until it was time for our boat trip when my eye caught the most bluish earrings I ever saw in my life. It was love at first sight. The color of the gemstones was so intense that I wanted to buy them. The lady in the shop told me that the earrings were made of tanzanite, the most bluish gemstone in the world.
The earrings watched me and told me ‘we want to be yours’. Anyway, that was spinning in my head. I was totally flabbergasted by the color, the beauty and the simplicity of the earrings, that made them one of a kind. The lady saw that I was interested and told me a bit about the gemstone tanzanite.
The gemstone Tanzanite can only be found in Tanzania
Tanzanite is found 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 can be found. This area is in the middle of the Masai area (a local tribe) and they knew this gemstone already for a long time and never realized the value of the stones. In 1967 Mr de Souza ‘discovered’ this gem and Tiffany’s made it popular, by calling this blue zoisite ‘tanzanite’.
A gemstone with a lot of sites
She gave me a closer look and showed me some other tanzanite jewelry. And there was something funny about this gemstone. When I looked at the top of the stone it was the most bluish gemstone in the world. But when you looked at another angle the color changed to violet, purple and reddish. Very strange and very beautiful: this is called pleochroism.
Finally, the most important question had to be asked ‘what is the price of these earrings?’. I hold my breath and after she was telling me that -unlike most tanzanite gemstones- these tanzanites set in the earrings had a natural color, and were 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 can be a bit expensive
With a big smile, she said that the price was $16.000. I know I have an expensive taste, but this was a bit much. To say the least. She saw my reaction and smiled a bit arrogant as if she wanted to say ‘I knew that you could afford this’. Grrr. But she was a well-trained businesswoman and showed me the heated tanzanite jewelry, that was about 80% cheaper, and the gemstones that looked a bit like the tanzanite, like the blue topaz, the aquamarine or the even more expensive sapphire.
This was the end of my tanzanite dream. And still, I am thinking that maybe one day… I buy or get those most bluish gemstones in the world in the most beautiful earrings you can find. I keep on dreaming.
Tips when you own tanzanite or want to buy one
When you are 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 can be scratched easily and the gemstone can easily break or split. Better not buy a ring or bracelet with tanzanite, unless you wear them only on 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 it 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.