December Birthstone: Tanzanite

June 15, 2021

December Birthstone: Tanzanite

Like two other months that precede it, December has three birthstones; turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon. In this post we are going to focus on the deep violet-blue beauty of tanzanite. 

In the world of colored gemstones, tanzanite is quite young. It was discovered in Tanzania in the 1960s and was minimally mined for the first few years due to scarcity. It was first identified as the mineral zoisite but later named tanzanite after its place of origin, Tanzania. In the late ‘60s a plentiful source was discovered in northern Tanzania, specifically within the Merelani Hills region. Once mining operations developed this velvety stone became more readily available. 

With a hardness rating of 6-7, it is suitable for earrings and pendants but must be in a protective mounting if it is to be used in special-occasion rings. Although it is heat treated to enhance its rich color, tanzanite may not be able to withstand very high temperatures or sudden changes in temperature. Like many other gemstones, warm soapy water is the preferred cleaning method. Steam or ultrasonic cleaners should never be used on tanzanite jewelry as they are likely to cause damage to the stone.

For the last 60 years, Tiffany & Co. has been the primary distributor of these richly colored stones known for their clarity. The jewelry powerhouse helped bring this gorgeous gemstone to market and has continued to showcase it in its collections.

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