The gemstone was said to be discovered by a man named Manuel De Souza, an Indian tailor who had travelled to Tanzania to search for gemstones and gold. It is said that he was walking through the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro when he spotted something glistening in the ground. He deduced that the stone was too soft to be sapphire, and it was later categorised as a variety of the mineral Zoisite. Another theory is that the gemstone was actually first discovered by the native Maasai Cattle Herders after a fire. The fire turned the brown zoisite crystals into deep blue-purple gemstones.
The rough form of tanzanite is a reddish-brown colour. In order to become tanzanite, the mineral must contain traces of Vanadium. The stone needs to be heated to 600˚C for 30 minutes in order to transform into the vibrant blue colour that is associated with tanzanite. The deeper the blue of the tanzanite, the more desirable and expensive it will be.
Tanzanite is only mined in Tanzania. The mining and selling of tanzanite are regulated by the Tanzanian government to ensure it remains ethical and sustainable.
The largest carved Tanzanite is named ‘L’heure Bleu’ and was created by Naomi Sarna. Sarna travelled to the tanzanite mines where she found the 725 carat gemstone that she carved as her entry to an international design competition. Sarna then taught the women in the area how to create jewellery using Tanzanite so they could sell their own creations.
Tanzanite is said to generate calmness and compassion. Tanzanite has a trichroic, which makes it unusual. Some crystals, such as tanzanite, have trichroism. This means that the crystals exhibit a perceptible difference in colour when looked at under different lights, or from different angles. When tanzanite catches the light in different ways, it can appear blue, purple, red, or even yellow. This unusual property makes tanzanite all the more appealing for jewellers as the finished item will be incredibly eye-catching.
As well as being the birthstone for December, Tanzanite is also the gemstone for 24th wedding anniversaries.
From the Persians to the Ancient Egyptians to the Native Americans, its striking blue hue with rich varieties of brown and black veining – also known as the matrix – has caught the eye of many a discerning lover of high-quality gemstones.
The name turquoise comes from the french term ‘turquois’ which simply means ‘Turkish”. The gemstone was named after Turkey because even thought the gem was found in Iran, it was brought to Europe via Turkey.
Turquoise is the only gemstone that has a colour named after it!
Turquoise needs a very specific environment for its formation. It is only found in areas where the land is dry and barren. The formation starts when acidic copper rich water seeps into the barren ground and reacts with the minerals containing phosphorus and aluminium.
For centuries Turquoise was considered to be a holy stone and a carrier of good fortune by people all over the world. Some cultures believed that the stone had the ability to change colour and warn its wearer of an impending danger. The Ancient Egyptians held the gemstone in high regard because Pharoh Tutankhamun’s iconic mask features Turquoise.
Turquoise is the gemstone for 11th wedding anniversaries.