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Tanzanite

Birthstone: December

Anniversary stone: 24th year of marriage

Tanzanite

History

First discovered on the land below Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa in 1967, this stunning gem was originally called “blue zoisite”. One of the most recently discovered gemstones, it was first introduced to the public in 1969 by Tiffany & Co who renamed it tanzanite after its country of origin. Found only in Tanzania, its rarity and stunning violet blue colour has made it one of the most popular stones in the world. A thousand times rarer than diamonds, the demand for tanzanite jewellery has grown dramatically earning it the name of “the gemstone of the 20th century”.

Characteristics

Tanzanite's rise in popularity is largely due to its striking colour which, as with any naturally occurring stone, comes in varying degrees of intensity. From delicate cornflower blue and lavender to rich deep hues of purple and ultramarine, tanzanite comes in a range of tones which can alter when viewed from different angles.

This versatile gemstone lends itself to round and rectangular cuts which show its colour to best advantage. Although more commonly used in white gold jewellery, a yellow gold setting looks equally beautiful.

The Mohs’ scale measures a gems relative hardness on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the stones “scratchability”. Diamond is the hardest at 10, sapphire and rubies measure 9, with pearl at around 3 ½ and amber at 2 ½. Tanzanite is not as hard as some other gemstones measuring 6 ½ on the Mohs’ scale.

Care and Cleaning

Tanzanite is not as hard as some other gemstones so tanzanite rings should not be worn everyday as the stone can be scratched. A rub over setting is preferred as it offers some protection to the stone. It is recommended to remove tanzanite rings before doing any hard physical work with your hands.

Tanzanite will last for many years providing it is properly cared for. The best way to clean your tanzanite jewellery is by using a toothbrush and warm, soapy water. It is advisable not to use ultrasonic or steam cleaners found in jewellery stores as these could damage the stone.

Legend and Lore

It is said that wearing tanzanite can make you more realistic and honest. It is believed it opens the heart and helps you to cope with change. It is also said to be balancing and calming for creative people. Tanzanite was recently added to the list as a birth stone for December, the first to be added since 1912.