Tanzanite: December Birthstone

Tanzanite is a newcomer to the world of colored gemstones. But its already a sensation. In just a few years since it’s discovery it is already a coveted birthstone. Today, it is not only a December birthstone, but it is also the gem for the 24th wedding anniversary. It is often described as velvety because of its deep and saturated color, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet. Blue is considered most valuable. This beautiful stone has vivid colors, high clarity and large cut stones.

Tanzanite was discovered in 1962 in - where else but - Tanzania. Tiffany and Company gave the trade name Tanzanite to the gem-quality specimens of the mineral Zoisite with a blue color. The world's only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is in northern Tanzania. The mines are all located in an area of about eight square miles in the Merelani Hills, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tanzanite has a unique niche that makes it very attractive for investment. It a rare and exclusive gem found in one small place, making tanzanite and tanzanite jewelry excellent investment options. Scientists believe that the unique conditions brought on by the eruption of Mount Kilimanjaro created this beautiful stone. The probability of these specific conditions found elsewhere is so low that it is highly unlikely tanzanite will ever be discovered in another location.

Tanzanite has a hardness of 6 to 7 on Mohs hardness scale. It is therefore resistant to normal heat, light and common chemicals. However, the stone may crack if exposed to very high temperatures or sudden temperature changes and is prone to abrasion as well. While it is not recommended for daily wear in a ring, Tanzanite can be an attractive special-occasion jewel. Your tanzanite birthstone is best set in earrings or pendants. Warm, soapy water is the best way to clean this December birthstone. Ultrasonic and steam cleaning is not recommended.

Most tanzanite are brownish and are heat treated to produce the blue to violet hues that characterize this December birthstones. The resulting color is permanent, and there are no additional durability concerns.