There is a 20 square mile stretch of land near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, it is the only source, in the entire world, of what we know as the gemstone Tanzanite.
In 1967, truly a recent date in the gemstone world, local tribesman stumbled upon a deposit of this majestic blue, violet stone, a local prospector Manuel d’Souza quickly thought a vein of sapphire had been found and lay claim to mining in the area. It was in fact not Sapphire but a deposit of Blue Ziosite and what we now know as Tanzanite, so named by Tiffany and Co after they struck a deal to be its main distributor in jewellery.
In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association chose tanzanite as a December birthstone, the first change to their birthstone list since 1912!I’ve enjoyed working with Tanzanite for a number of years, it’s a truly arresting colour, I would describe it as blue with flashes of indigo but as with all colours, and gemstone, the hue is in the eye of the beholder.
What particularly interests me about Tanzanite are the gorgeous speckled inclusions present, although you can buy it almost eye clear, but I prefer when a gemstone almost wears it’s formation on on it’s sleeve, showing the tiny speckles and deposits as the crystals have grown over the years, to be precise, wait for it…………….. 585 Million years!That’s correct, Tanzanite was formed 585 Million years ago, by massive plate tectonic activity and intense heat in the area that would later become Mount Kilimanjaro. The mineral is located in a relatively complex geological environment. Deposits are typically found in the “hinge” of isoclinal folds.
It’s always fascinating to know the back story of such gems and I hope it enhances your enjoyment of the pieces of Tanzanite Jewellery we have available in the collection.