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Tanzanite- The Birthstone of December

Tanzanite the jewel of East Africa is a rare and exotic variety of gemstone. Tanzanite occurs in a variety of colors. The most widely recognized color of tanzanite, in the jewel...
Views: 1.060 Created 05/20/2008

Tanzanite the jewel of East Africa is a rare and exotic variety of gemstone. Tanzanite occurs in a variety of colors. The most widely recognized color of tanzanite, in the jewelry industry is purple. In smaller sizes, it tends to the lighter shades, with lavender the most common. In larger sizes the gem typically displays darker and richer tones of purple.

Since tanzanite is a much recent find, it is popularly known as the gemstone of the 20th century. According to The Tanzanite Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting tanzanite and those associated with its mining, tanzanite gemstone is a 1000 times rarer than diamonds. The obvious reason is its limited source which is getting depleted. This generation has the privilege to be the first time owners of a tanzanite gemstone.

In the year 2002 this exceptional gemstone was added to the American Gem Trade Association’s list of birthstones. Tanzanite is the birthstone for the month of December.

    When tanzanite is mined, it is almost always grayish or brownish in color. Very rarely rough crystal will come out purple or blue, but for those that don't, heat treatment is used to get the lovely color. This treatment brings out the beautiful blues and purples tanzanite is so celebrated for. The treatment is permanent and an accepted norm in the jewelry industry. The treatment does not affect the price of the gemstone.

A calcium aluminum silicate Ca2Al3(O/OH/SiO4/Si2O7) by chemical composition, tanzanite belongs to the zoisite mineral family. It has a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale which is not particularly hard as compared to other gemstones.

Tanzanite is usually worn as pendant, necklace or earrings. When set in rings, the gemstone is very often bezel set to protect the gem. Tanzanite looks great with diamonds or white sapphires as the brilliance of these stones complements the deep luster of tanzanite and provides tenacity to the setting. It is recommended for the married couples celebrating their twenty fourth wedding anniversary.

Avoid cleaning tanzanite with hot soapy water or steam and never clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner. Never use harsh detergents and or any cleaning solutions that contain petroleum distillates. Avoid soaking your gemstone in water for long and only use something like an old soft toothbrush (without toothpaste). A warm moist cloth may also be used to clean tanzanite jewelry.

Rare and unique, this extraordinary gemstone has created a special place of respect in the world of colored gemstones.  The lovely color of the gemstone is a fine cusp between deep violet and royal blue with a velvety shine.

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