- Tanzanite is a rare and
precious gemstone. Tanzanite's formation is so unusual that it has been described as a
- The world's only known
source of tanzanite is a thin strip of land at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in
Northern Tanzania, East Africa.
- Experts maintain that the
chance of tanzanite occurring elsewhere is 'one in a million'.
- This unparalleled rarity
has earned tanzanite its own unique place in the gemstone set. The historical two-way
split between diamonds and colored gemstones has evolved into a category triad: diamonds,
colored gemstones and tanzanite.
- Tanzania is endowed with a
rich and sophisticated folklore.
- Legend has it that the land
was set ablaze by a bolt lightning. The heat from this 'magic fire in the sky' transformed
crystals on the ground into shimmering Blue-violet stones.
- When the last cinders
dissolved into the earth and the thick smoke settled, awestruck Maasai tribesmen filled
their pouches with the mystical stones, intuitively knowing that these jewels would bring
about a better life.
- Shortly thereafter,
tanzanite's first prospectors began to lay claim to the mining areas.
- The story of tanzanite's
discovery is peppered with discrepancies and it is not known exactly who first claimed it.
The most widely held narratives states that in July of 1967, a local Maasai tribesman
named Ali Juuyawatu discovered a piece of translucent crystal at the base of Mount
Kilimanjaro. Fascinated by its Blue-violet hue, Juuyawatu shared his find with Manuel
D'Souza, a tailor by profession and prospector by passion, who was looking for rubies in
- D'Souza did not realize
that he had stumbled upon one of the rarest gemstones known to man. Gemological tests
revealed that what was thought to be 'vibrant sapphire' had a composition more complex
than sapphire and was truly unique.
- In 2002, the American Gem
Trade Association (AGTA) selected tanzanite as the December birthstone, adding it to a
list of birthstones unchanged since 1912.
- Tanzanite is however,
increasingly regarded as the birthstone, irrespective of the month, celebration of new
life and new beginnings.
- Maasai custom underlines
the authenticity of this association.
- Blue has always been a
sacred, spiritual color to the Maasai. According to age old custom only women who have
been blessed with fertility, with the miracle of new life, have the honor of wearing Blue
beads and fabric.
- Since its discovery,
tanzanite has represented transformation and a better life for the people of Tanzania.
- With a finite supply from
single source, tanzanite is an heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation.
- This generation will be the
last of its first time owners - 'the tanzanite generation'.
- Tanzanite's exquisite
color, poised intriguing between Blue and Violet, is unlike that of any other gemstone.
- In its rough form,
tanzanite is uniquely trichroic, radiating three different colors from each of its
crystallographic exes, namely Blue, Violet and Burgundy.
- Once cut and polished, it
becomes a kaleidoscope of royal Blue, Violet, Indigo, Lilac and Periwinkle.
- It is this unique color,
vibrant, individual and youthful, that gives tanzanite a strong, immediately recognizable
identity and contributes to its special positioning in both the gemstone and the fine
Also view the grading system here: