Tanzanite is the blue and violet variety of the mineral zoisite. It is of a calcium aluminum silicate chemical composition. Its crystal structure is orthorhombic, multifaced prismatic and mostly striated.

Tanzanite has a hardness ranging from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Together with a perfect cleavage, it can split or fracture if struck too hard. As rings are more prone to scratches, it is usually protected by bezel setting.

It is transparent, has a perfect cleavage and a vitreous luster. Tanzanite shows no inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye.

Tanzanite is extremely rare: 1000 times rarer than diamonds.

Tanzanite was formed around 585 million years ago during the mid-Ediacaran Period by massive plate tectonic activity and intense heat in the area near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Though Tanzanite has been around through the ages, it was only recently "discovered" in the 1960s. The small piece of land where Tanzanite is mined was part of the Maasai district and mostly uninhabited before then and herders who chanced upon the brown inconspicuous zoisite crystals thought nothing about it.

Fine tanzanite has a richness and depth of color that even the finest sapphire cannot match and Merelani in Tanzania is the only significant locality in the world for such crystals.

Because of Tanzanite’s popularity and its value, there has been conflicting, complex and intriguing history regarding when and by whom Tanzanite was discovered.

Based on records by the US Gemological Survey and the African government, Tanzanite was first discovered in early 1967 by a Maasai herdsman known as Jumanne Ngoma. He was officially recognised as its first discoverer of Tanzanite in 1984 when the government in Tanzania awarded him with a certificate and a prize of US$22.

This record was further legitimised by the Tanzanian government in 2018 when President Magufuli honored Mr Ngoma as the first person to send samples of minerals from the site to the Chief Government Geologist back in 1967. He was awarded US$44,000 for his remarkable work.

However this news did not go down well with the descendants of Manuel de Sousa who was an amateur gemologist living in Tanzania then. They claimed that their grandfather was the first to have discovered the stone while prospecting in the area.

There was also another version of the story regarding Manuel de Sousa. In 1967, there was a blazing fire set by lightning. The intense heat turned the nondescript brown stones into lumimous rich blue. Its glitter caught the eyes of herders who brought the stones to Manuel de Sousa who at first sight thought they were blue sapphires. However, after some identification procedure done and further tests by experts, he realised that these were the very rare form of Zoisite crystals.

The family of Manuel de Sousa lamented that he was not recognised as the founder because he was an Indian immigrant. They asserted that xenophobia by the Tanzanian government played a part in not giving him his due respect.

As we have mentioned, the discovery of Tanzanite is shrouded in mystery.

The gemstone was known as Blue Zoisite until 1968 when Tiffany & Co. started to market it. Its name was changed to "Tanzanite", after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered. Tiffany & Co. also did not like the name "Blue Zoisite" as it could be misread and misheard as "blue suicide"!

Tanzanite comes in various intensity and saturation of blues ranging from light sky blue to deep midnight blue. Within the same gemstone are tints of violet and purple. Tanzanite also comes in violet colors. However, it is the blue ones that fetch the highest prices.

One distinguishing feature of Tanzanite is its trichroism. This is the rare ability to change color from blue to red or pink to purple, three different colors to be exact, depending on the angle that is viewed from. This mesmerising color change can be seen in one gorgeous faceted gemstone.

Tanzanite also shows different colors under various light sources. In fluorescent lights, it becomes bluer; under incandescence, red is more prominent; candlelight brings out the dark red-purple or dark red-brown colors; under sunlight, the blues seem to catch fire. This is true Mother Earth’s magic with no tricks involved.

Tanzanite is the blue form of Zoisite. It is the most famous of the Zoisite minerals which include Ruby Zoisite also known as Anyolite (found only in Tanzania) and the pink variety known as Thulite.

When it comes to colored gemstones, the old saying rings true, i.e., Color is King. In Tanzanite’s case, the bluer the gemstone, the higher is its value.

Though Tanzanite gemstones are 1000 times rarer than diamonds, they are more affordable than diamonds.

Diamonds' high prices are manipulated through marketing strategies, propaganda and control of supply through complete monopoly of the diamond industry.

Though rarer than diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, Tanzanite is considered a semi-precious stone.

Tanzanite's relative affordability is a big draw to consumers. However, its price will only soar higher as it can only be found in one small locality. Once the mines are depleted, unless new deposits are found elsewhere, prices will skyrocket many times what it is worth now.

The color blue is one of the most sacred colors and in many ancient civilizations it represented Heaven. Maasai people believe that Tanzanite is a sacred gift given to them by the gods. In the Maasai tradition, a piece of Tanzanite is given to new mothers and their babies for good luck and prosperity.

Tanzanite is a bridge between the spiritual plane and the physical plane. It enhances one’s psychic abilities and brings the gift of fortune, clairvoyance, intuition and self-knowledge.

Purple is another sacred color that was loved by the ancients worldwide. In Rome, purple was the sacred color of royalty. For example, blue and violet-hued colors were attributed to Jupiter, the same colors found in Tanzanite.

Tanzanite can be placed on the crown chakra as it is this Sphere that is the source of true light. True light is not colorless but a rainbow of colors. The crown chakra is the connection between the Heavens and the Earth, it is from here where messages and blessings from Above are first received.

Though metaphysical properties of Tanzanite have not been documented by coming from the legends of the Maasai people, psychics believe that this is a powerful magical gemstone that strengthens the immune system, regenerates blood cells, reduces migraines and expedite recovery after surgery with less painful side effects.

Tanzanite is also believed to have the power to bring people out of coma just as it has the power to regenerate cells in the body including the regrowth of hair.

As it resonates with the Crown Chakra, it is best to wear Tanzanite near the Crown Chakra such as earrings, hairclips, necklaces, hair chain and forehead jewelry. You can also have a tumbled Tanzanite piece with you and when you feel stressed or annoyed rub it between your index finger and thumb.

Raw Tanzanite is usually heated to rid of its brown, yellow, red and purple tints. The heat also enhances the blue in this gemstone.

Tanzanite is strong enough to be made into any type of jewelry. However, precautions must be taken such as putting bezel settings in rings. Tanzanite earrings and necklaces or pendants need no protective settings.

Tanzanite gemstones are popular as special occasion pieces of jewelry, also as engagement rings.

Tanzanite is an official birthstone for December.

The concept of birthstones originated from civilizations even more ancient than the Hebrews, like the Sumerians and the Indians. Throughout the years there had been alterations that reflected current trends and fashion. Additionally, there are some confusions over many “look-alike” stones from the past. For instance, Tanzanite looks very similar to blue sapphires and purple amethyst. Hindus have a magnificent birthstone chart that is more ancient than that of the Americans.

For example, “it wasn’t until 1912, though, that the first official birthstone list was established by the American National Retail Jeweler’s Association (now known as Jewelers of America). It has changed only a few times over the last century.

According to JA, it updated the list in 1952 to add alexandrite (June), citrine (November), tourmaline (October) and zircon (December) as birthstones, and again in 2002, when tanzanite became a birthstone for December.

Most recently, spinel joined peridot in August.”

[Taken from the online article: “Rocks On: The Evolution of the Birthstone List.” https://www.nationaljeweler.com/…/4605-rocks-on-how-the-mod… ].

But why December? This is because December has these other blue gemstones such as Turquoise and Blue Zircon.

Finally, keep away your precious Tanzanite away from acids, extreme heat and or other temperature changes.

To clean your precious Tanzanite jewelry simply use a soft cloth with soap and water. Remove all soapy residue with rinsing water.