Tanzanite gemstones are found in the shadows of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the only commercial source for the gemstone. In 1967, a Masai tribesman discovered the gem. It was eventually named tanzanite in honor of its country of origin. The gemstone is often described as “velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated color, which ranges from purplish blue to a pure blue.

Tanzanite is a December birthstone, and gem aficionados born in other months also enjoy its charm and beauty.

Tanzanite Facts

  • Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral species zoisite.
  • Some gem zoisites may be colorless, brown, pink or green.
  • Tanzanite has a hardness of 6.0-7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Some tanzanite gemstones are carved or sculpted by famous lapidary artists.
  • It is only found in one place on earth, Tanzania.

Tanzanite Treatment

  • Most tanzanite is routinely heat treated, which causes a change of color in the rough material from brown, purple or grey to a deep blue, blue-violet or violet-blue. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Synthetic Tanzanite

  • There are no manufacturers of man-made tanzanite, though convincing simulants exist. That means that while a simulant looks like tanzanite, it does not share the same chemical, physical and optical characteristics.

Tanzanite Care & Cleaning

  • Tanzanites are somewhat delicate and should be worn with care.
  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Tanzanites should never be exposed to very high heat or wide changes in temperature, put in an ultrasonic cleaner, or steam-cleaned.
  • The safest way to clean tanzanite jewelry is to use warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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