What is Tanzanite?
Surprisingly enough there are still many people who are not familiar with Tanzanite but that is starting to change rapidly. Tanzanite is a beautiful, rare, gem which was just discovered in 1967. It's color ranges from a light blue to a darker blue, purple or violet. Once it is heated it's brilliance shines through and is mostly clear of inperfections by its nature. In it's rough state Tanzanite is often a reddish brown which is then almost always heated to bring out it blue/violet color. Tanzanite is a blue variety of the gemstone zoisite. It is made of calcium aluminium silicate and is not particularly hard, having a hardness value of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. For that reason, it should always be worn carefully and never placed in an ultrasonic bath for cleaning or brought into contact with acids.
Tanzanite is only found in a small area in Tanzania, East Africa. The stone was actually given it's name by Tiffany & Company who named it after the State in which it was found. Somewhere in the late 60's to early 70's the huge New York based jewelry company saw an opportunity with one of the rarest gems in the world and started to market it in a big way.
When the first tanzanites were offered to Tiffany & Co, a short time after their discovery, they sparked an enthusiastic reaction. 'This gemstone is a sensation!', they said. However, they did make a recommendation to give the 'child' another name, since the gemmologically correct name 'blue zoisite' was felt to be too close to the English word 'suicide'. So Tiffany's proposed the name 'tanzanite', after the place where the stone had been found - a name which quickly came into general use in the trade. And it was Tiffany's who, two years after its discovery, presented the exclusive gemstone to the general public with a broad-based advertising campaign.