A Rare and Precious Gemstone
Tanzanite is one of the most intriguing and desirable precious gemstones of modern times. It is found in only one place on earth, deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. Experts say that the chance of Tanzanite occurring anywhere else in the world is less than a million to one. The gemstone's single source and limited supply makes it at least one thousand times rarer than a diamond.
The Story of Discovery
Tanzanite was formed approximately 585 million years ago, yet this remarkable treasure remained hidden beneath the earth’s surface until just 40 years ago, when according to local sources, a Maasai tribesman herding his cattle stumbled upon some crystals on the ground. Whilst the exact story of Tanzanite’s discovery remains something of a mystery, Maasai communities have built their own legends about the miraculous find. They tell stories of how the land was set ablaze by a bolt of lightning and believe that it was the heat from this 'magic fire in the sky' that transformed crystals on the ground into shimmering blue-violet gems. At first it was believed that the gemstones were unusually vibrant Sapphires, but it was soon confirmed that the new stones were more complex than Sapphires, with a colour exotic and alluring.
A Unique and Exquisite Colour
Tanzanite is exceptionally brilliant and is unique among gemstones for its multi-dimensional colour. In gemmological terms, Tanzanite is trichroic, which means that when brought out of the earth, its crystals radiate three different colours: blue, violet and burgundy. Once cut and polished, the Tanzanite becomes a dazzling kaleidoscope.
Tanzanites come in a wide and varied range of hues: light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets. Larger stones tend to exhibit the more vivid colours, while smaller stones typically showcase pastel shades. Matching pairs are always greatly sought after, as it’s unusual to find two stones identical in colour.
Tanzanite & Tiffany’s
New York’s celebrated jewellers Tiffany & Co. heard about the discovery of a new gemstone in Tanzania and were first to introduce it to the world. They christened the new find “Tanzanite” after its country of origin and declared it to be “the most beautiful blue stone to be discovered in 2000 years.” Tiffany proudly stated that Tanzanite could be found in only two places in the world, “in Tanzania and at Tiffany’s.” The gemstone is still hugely popular with Tiffany & Co. customers today.