From its popularity, you might not realize that tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery among gemstones. The blue-violet gem was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, for which it is named, and is found in only one small area in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzanite is known both for its deep, gorgeous color and its trichroism—when tilted in different directions, the stone gives flashes of blue, violet, or burgundy. Its beauty has made tanzanite a natural choice for fine jewelry, and you will readily find it in necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings.
Tanzanite is most often set in gold (white or yellow) or platinum. Silver is not recommended for setting tanzanite because the metal lacks the strength to properly protect the stone. Tanzanite has a hardness of 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes it somewhat vulnerable to scratching, and it has one direction of perfect cleavage, which could result in chipping should the stone be struck sharply. Because of this, jewelers suggest that tanzanite rings not be worn for daily wear, unless the setting is designed to protect the stone, such as in a bezel setting.
Tanzanite can be found in almost any shape you desire, although cushion and oval cuts are very popular, as they show off the stone’s color well. The rough stone itself can dictate the shape of the final cut, as jewelers seek to craft the largest and most beautiful finished gem possible from the raw material. The most saturated and desirable color will be found, naturally, in the largest stones. Most cut tanzanite stones are relatively small, and their value increases dramatically as their size increases.
Tanzanite is frequently surrounded in diamonds or set with diamond accents, as the cool brilliance of diamonds contrasts dramatically with tanzanite’s velvety blue. For the same reason, white gold and platinum are popular choices for settings. The stone appears in all kinds of settings, though, from sleek and modern to ornate, so the main factor in dictating your choice should be your personal preference. Because tanzanite can vary in color, you’ll want to take care in matching pieces you intend to wear together, such as earrings and a necklace.
Tanzanite jewelry is best cleaned with mild soap and warm water, and then dried with a soft cloth. Ultrasonic cleaning and steam cleaning is not recommended, and you should avoid exposing tanzanite to high temperatures, sudden temperature changes, or strong acids. However, with a little care, your tanzanite jewelry can be a joy to you and an heirloom to pass down.
If you’re looking for a special tanzanite piece, you can find necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, and rings at AuctionKing.com. We constantly seek out the highest quality jewelry and regularly update our inventory with new finds. Our live online auctions bring these treasures to you at below-market prices every day.