6 Facts You Should Know About Tanzanites

  • In 1962, a beautiful blue gemstone was discovered in the African country of Tanzania. It is not known for certain who found the first crystal. The most popular theory attributes the discovery to Ali Juuyawatu, a local tribesman. In 1967, Ali found a piece of translucent crystal near Mount Kilimanjaro. He shared his find with Manuel D'Souza, a tailor with a hobby of prospecting, who believed they had found an extraordinary and vibrant sapphire.

  • Maasai legend is that cattle herders first noticed this stone some 30 years before, after a brush-fire caused by lightning burned large areas of the plains at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Brown gemstone crystals lying on the dry earth were caught in the fire. The Masai herders driving cattle in the area noticed the beautiful blue color and picked the crystals up, becoming the first tanzanite collectors.

  • Tanzanite's natural colour is brown, so it is routinely heat-treated to modify its colour. The treatment is stable with no additional durability concerns.
  • Tanzanite is the birthstone for the month of December.

  • Tanzanite can be a clear blue, violet-blue, or bluish purple. The richer the colour of the tanzanite, the more valuable it is. Pure blue or rich violet blue stones are the most valuable tanzanites. 

  • Tanzanite rates 6.5 to 7.0 on the mohs hardness scale, and requires special care when worn in jewellery.

July 17, 2014 by Perrine Comeille
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