The Tanzanite, the story of one of the most beautiful transformations of the 20th century. In the raw state, it is in the form of a striated prism, with multiple facets. It owes its dominant blue color to a chemical element called vanadium.
Legend has it that a stormy day struck a Merelani purple tree, setting fire to the Tanzanian savanna. The brown zoïsite crystals on the ground were heated to the heart by the flames. Soon after the Masai people discovered that these stones had become intense blue as if by enchantment! Later on, the name Tanzanite would be given to this beautiful transformation…
It is estimated that this stone was formed about 585 million years ago ... But it was not until 1967 that this beautiful blue gem tinted with violet is discovered! This new discovery seems all the more extraordinary when one knows that there is only one known deposit in the world today: in Merelani near Arusha in Tanzania. It is in this East African country located on the edge of the Indian Ocean near Kilimanjaro that tanzanite was born. The Masai people consider it sacred, as is its peculiar color, combining the blue of the sapphire and the violet of the amethyst.
Unique and rare at the same time, the tanzanite has gradually made its place within the circle of the most coveted gems in jewelry. The artisan jeweler Philippe Tournaire has also integrated in sublime creations thus bringing light. And what a light! A sparkling tanzanite has this peculiarity to play with the lighting, revealing us sometimes its deep blue, its purple hues or its Bordeaux touch.
Tanzanite is a member of the family zoïsites (such as andalusite and thulite). A few decades ago, the zoïsites were associated with colors such as pale blue, green, brown, pink ... Sometimes even colorless. They were mainly used to make small sculptures. With the arrival of the tanzanite in the family, another use of zoïsites was born, this stone being carved in facets and of gem quality. Tanzanite is a silicate of calcium and aluminum, which comes from veins in gneiss. In the raw state, it is in the form of a striated prism, with multiple facets. It owes its dominant blue color to a chemical element called vanadium. Its hardness is between 6 and 7, which requires the lapidary to cut it very carefully to keep a maximum of material while letting appear the most beautiful colors. Without human intervention, tanzanite has brown hues.
It is common and accepted that most tanzanites are embellished by heating, which reveals their intense blue shine. This is how the notes of brown are very attenuated or disappear. This process allows us to contemplate the gem in all its splendor, for we can see different colors in a very distinct way in the same crystal, according to the angle of view (this phenomenon is called pleochroism). Thus, from this or that position, the tanzanite can show us its most beautiful blue, or its pronounced tints of purple, violet…
The most popular tanzanites in commerce are those of a very bright blue or a purplish blue-lavender very intense. There are imitations of this beautiful stone, given its success although fluctuating but growing in the end. Since it comes from a single source in the world, supply is not always in line with demand. As a result, in the late 1990s, imitations emerged. You can find false tanzanites at reasonable prices ... These are glass imitations, doublets with synthetic stones (such as synthetic fosterite).
But nothing is worth a beautiful Tanzanite with its depth to the incontestable charms and its magical colors!