Behind the Gemstone: Tanzanite
Tanzanite has been around a little more than 54 years and in that time it rivaled sapphire and ruby in popularity.
Rough Tanzanite (Image accessed via The Rare Gemstone Company)
Cut Tanzanite sourced by Michael Valitutti for the Gems en Vogue collection.
- First, tanzanite can be cut into a variety of shapes like trilliums, emerald cut, heart shape, marquise cut, etc. Its crystal habit and natural clarity make this possible. Unbeknownst to most people, many gems are limited into what practical shapes are available; tanzanite allows us to be creative.
- Second, tanzanite maintains its color over a wide range of sizes (only if the original crystal rough was dark). This is very important because it’s possible to get a cluster of smaller sizes tanzanite with the same intensity as a single larger stone.
- Third, and perhaps the most important, is the natural ability of tanzanite to “mix” the cool blue color with the warmer fuchsia color.
Michael Valitutti sorting loose Tanzanite gemstones.
The blue dot labeled Merelani is the location of the only Tanzanite mine location (Image accessed via SearchMin)
Tanzanite has only been found in one area of the world and is still mined in the same district it was discovered, a 4 KM area in Merelani. Approx two years ago the Tanzanian government built a wall surrounding the mine site in order to prevent poaching and manage this precious one-location gem. This has caused a decrease in supply resulting in increased prices especially for finer goods.