a blue/purple gem variety of the gemstone Zoisite. It is
characterized by a stunning colour which is not unlike top grade
Blue Sapphire at the better end. The hue can range from a
light violet blue to a strong and intense bluish purple or
purplish blue. Tanzanite is not
particularly hard, having a hardness value of 6 to 6.5 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 and heat etc.
Most raw crystals are actually a yellowish/brownish colour though this can be be made to disappear by the cutter if he heats the stone carefully in an oven under controlled conditions. This heat treatment is a method of enhancement which is regarded as customary in the trade and the treatment is permanent. However the raw stones must be as free of inclusions as possible, since otherwise damage is likely to occur. In fact working with tanzanite can sometimes give even the most experienced cutter a bit of a headache, the cleavage of this gemstone being very pronounced in one direction. This exclusive gemstone is cut in every imaginable shape from the classical round shape to a number of imaginative designer cuts.
Tanzanite is a relatively new gem discovery having been found in 1967 in an area of Tanzania called the Meralani Hills some 60 miles from Arusha. The story is told that some local tribes people upon waking up in the morning noticed some beautiful blue pebbles in the ashes from their fire from the previous evening. It is really only found in this one area and how long the deposit will be workable is unknown. It is very much in the jewellery spotlight at moment and there is a worldwide demand for good material.
Tanzanite is said to be a calming stone. It is good if life becomes chaotic or extremely busy and one is starting to feel out of balance. It will bring you back into balance.