Tanzanite gemstone, color characteristics and prices
What gemstone is Tanzanite?
Tanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone known for its beauty and vibrant color.
Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral zoisite, and its general chemical formula is Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH). This formula represents the basic structure of the zoisite mineral. Tanzanite acquires its characteristic color due to traces of vanadium in its chemical composition.
It exhibits a wide range of blue and violet shades, ranging from azure blue to deep violet-blue. Some tanzanite gemstones display a more intense and rich blue color, which characterizes higher-quality tanzanites.
Some features to recognize Tanzanite:
Origin: Tanzanite is a relatively recent gemstone discovery, only found in the 1960s. Its sole known source is Tanzania, from which it derives its name. Specifically, tanzanite was discovered in the mines of Merelani, near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Color: Tanzanite is renowned for its extraordinary color, ranging from violet-blue to deep violet. The hue and saturation of the color can vary, but tanzanites with a more intense and vibrant color are generally considered more valuable. Tanzanite’s color can also slightly change depending on lighting conditions. In natural light or daylight, tanzanite may appear more blue. However, in artificial lighting or incandescent light, it can exhibit a more violet hue.
Heat Treatment: Most tanzanites undergo heat treatment to enhance and stabilize their color. This treatment is common and accepted in the gemstone industry.
Hardness: Tanzanite has a hardness of approximately 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, making it softer than gemstones like diamond or ruby. Therefore, it’s important to handle tanzanites with care to avoid scratches or damage.
Cut: Tanzanite is often cut into various shapes to maximize its beauty. Popular cuts include round, oval, pear, and emerald cuts. Uses: Tanzanite is widely used in jewelry, including rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. It is considered suitable for both high-end fine jewelry and more affordable pieces.
Value: The value of tanzanite depends on its color, clarity, size, and overall quality. Tanzanites with more intense and high-quality colors are naturally more valuable.
Symbolic Meaning: Tanzanite is often associated with spirituality and inner transformation. Some believe it can promote mental clarity and emotional balance.
Trivia: Tanzanite has been chosen as the official gemstone for the 24th wedding anniversary. Additionally, it has often been used in commemorative jewelry to celebrate significant historical events, such as Tanzania’s fiftieth anniversary of independence.
What is the Value of Tanzanite?
The value of tanzanite varies considerably based on several key factors. Some of the main factors that influence the value of tanzanite are:
Color: Color is one of the most critical factors in evaluating tanzanite. Tanzanites with more intense and vibrant colors, ranging from violet-blue to deep violet, are generally more valuable. Stones with a richer color hue are considered of higher value.
Size: Like many gemstones, size influences value. Larger tanzanites are generally more expensive than smaller ones of the same quality.
Clarity: The clarity of tanzanite, meaning the presence of inclusions or imperfections, can influence its value. Tanzanites with few visible inclusions are considered more valuable. However, some inclusions may be accepted if they do not significantly affect the overall appearance of the stone.
Cut: The cut of tanzanite can significantly enhance its value. A well-executed cut can maximize the gem’s beauty and brilliance.
Treatments: Most tanzanites undergo heat treatment to enhance and stabilize their color. This treatment is common and accepted in the gemstone industry. However, other treatments to improve clarity and color must be disclosed in a gemological certificate and can affect the gem’s price.
Considering all these factors, high-quality tanzanites can have prices ranging from several hundred dollars per carat to thousands of dollars per carat. Larger, high-quality tanzanites with exceptional colors can be particularly valuable.
Where Is Tanzanite Mined?
Tanzanite is exclusively mined in Tanzania, from which it derives its name. Tanzania is the only known location in the world for the production of high-quality tanzanite. Specifically, tanzanite mines are located in the Merelani area near Mount Kilimanjaro in the northern part of the country.
The Merelani mines have been the primary source of tanzanite since its discovery in the 1960s. This region is famous for producing tanzanites with the characteristic intense violet-blue color that is highly prized. However, it’s worth noting that the availability of high-quality tanzanite can vary within the mines and over time.
Because tanzanite is so closely associated with Tanzania, the Tanzanian government has imposed restrictions on the export of rough tanzanite to preserve this natural resource and maximize the economic benefit for the country. These restrictions have been implemented to protect tanzanite mines and the gemstone industry in Tanzania.
Famous Jewelry with Tanzanite
Tanzanite is a relatively recent gemstone discovery, found only in the 1960s, so it doesn’t have a centuries-old history of use in famous jewelry like some other gemstones. However, over the years, tanzanite has become increasingly popular and has found its place in high-end fine jewelry and unique pieces. Here are some examples of famous jewelry featuring tanzanite:
Oprah Winfrey’s Gift: The renowned television host Oprah Winfrey is known for wearing tanzanite jewelry in public. One of the most well-known examples is a pear-shaped tanzanite ring surrounded by diamonds that she has worn on various occasions.
Diana Ross’s Pendant: The legendary singer Diana Ross has been seen with an impressive pendant featuring an emerald-cut tanzanite set in diamonds. This piece has become an icon in her jewelry collection.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Necklace: Elizabeth Taylor, one of Hollywood’s greatest icons, had an extensive jewelry collection. Although there are no documented images of her wearing tanzanite jewelry, it is known that she owned several high-quality tanzanites in her collection.
Designer Creations: High-fashion jewelry designers have created unique pieces and runway jewelry featuring tanzanite. These pieces often showcase impressive-sized tanzanites and are admired for their creativity and luxury.
Jewelry Auctions: High-quality tanzanite jewelry has been sold in international art and jewelry auctions, attracting the attention of collectors and luxury jewelry connoisseurs.
As tanzanite continues to gain popularity, we are likely to see even more famous jewelry featuring this captivating gemstone in the coming years. Its beauty and unique color make it an attractive choice for designers and jewelry enthusiasts worldwide.