October’s tanzanite: gem of the month
In the gem world, tanzanite is the new kid on the block. The beautiful blue-purple stone was discovered relatively recently in 1967, but it has quickly gained a devoted following of gemologists and others who value the stone for its gorgeous colouring and clarity. While tanzanite doesn’t have a rich and storied history like other birthstones, it is still a highly prized and versatile gem that is frequently used in jewellery. Some people also believe the stone contains a number of properties that can benefit its wearer physically, mentally and emotionally.
Appearance and physical properties
Tanzanite is best known for its lovely blue colouring, which can range from pure blue to a violet-tinged blue. The gem is also known to display different colour saturations, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. In terms of hardness, tanzanite is relatively soft. This lack of durability makes the stone highly susceptible to scratching or chipping, so great care must be used when wearing the gems as jewellery centerpieces.
Because tanzanite is a relatively new gem in terms of its discovery, we are able to tell the story of how the gemstone became such an integral part of today’s jewellery industry. In 1967, a Masai tribesman in Tanzania happened upon a cluster of bluish crystals and immediately recognised the potential for wealth. A well-known prospector called Manuel de Souza was in the region scouting for rubies, so the tribesman shared his find with him. De Souza immediately staked claim to mine the region, believing the crystals were especially vivid sapphires. Once word got out about the unusual find, it didn’t take long for others to make their own claims as well, marking the beginning of the tanzanite mining industry.
Value and popularity
Gemologists soon realised that they were dealing with a previously undiscovered gem with great potential value. The magnitude of this find was enough to make world-famous jeweller Tiffany & Company take note. Practically overnight, the stone now called tanzanite in honour of its home country was launched into the spotlight, gaining instant popularity among jewellers and buyers alike.
In terms of value, prices of tanzanite will vary greatly depending on the colouring, size and cut of the stone. The most expensive stones are vivid blue in colour, while lighter blue or purple-tinged gems can be found for less.
Even though tanzanite hasn’t been around for long – at least in regards to human use of the stone – it has become a favourite of people seeking ways to enhance their spiritual connections to the earth, universe and to others. The stone is highly regarded as a powerful crystal that can assist people in spiritual exploration through deep meditation, as well as link them to higher planes of existence. Tanzanite’s high vibrational energy is said to evoke compassion and clear thought processes in the wearer, uniting the mind and heart and aiding in purposeful living.