What is Tanzanite?
For those who don’t know what Tanzanite is, it is a stone that was discovered in Tanzania in 1967. The purplish-blue color of Tanzanite is unlike any other, making it desirable for many reasons: as an investment opportunity, for its striking beauty, and its high value as jewelry. It is available around the world for purchase, but with so many fraudulent sellers out there, buying from a reputable store can be difficult. Due to these issues, finding authentic tanzanite while on safari or while traveling through Tanzania is something you might want to be prepared for beforehand.
Where does Tanzanite come from?
It is known as a stone that comes from East Africa and more specifically from Tanzania, it’s a variety of zoisite. It is formed when large amounts of heat and pressure cause zoisite to melt, but instead of becoming liquid as most other minerals would, it solidifies in its molten state and recrystallizes as tanzanite. This type of crystal structure can only be found in one place: Merelani Hills in Arusha Region, Tanzania. It’s here that crystals form under extreme pressure and heat within rocks like granite, these minerals gradually crystallize over millions of years before finally transforming into tanzanite around 100 million years ago.
What to look for when purchasing Tanzanite?
There are several factors you need to consider when purchasing Tanzanite. Most of these factors can be determined by looking at a photo of a rough stone. These elements include color, transparency, and cut.
Color is perhaps one of the most important factors for grading Tanzanite. The best colors come from deep blue with hints of violet, orange, or gold. If a stone appears too light and/or green it should be avoided, even if it has good clarity and cut. The color can be affected by heat treatment so it’s worth paying attention to heat marks present on a stone.
Transparency in gemstones refers to how clear they are when viewed under a microscope at 10x magnification. The clearer a stone is, the more valuable it tends to be. Stones with too many inclusions, cloudiness, and/or visible flaws should be avoided. If you can’t see through a stone completely, move on, if you want to buy for investment purposes stay away from stones that have visible fractures and cleavage planes.
Cut refers to how a stone is shaped. Stones that are too deep or shallow should be avoided, as should stones with high crowns and/or rounded edges. All of these elements can negatively affect a stone’s price, clarity, and sparkle, so it’s important to pay attention to cut when shopping for Tanzanite. Due to their large size, most Tanzanites are faceted into ovals but they can also be found in round brilliant cuts.
What to expect when shopping for Tanzanite in Eastern Africa while on safari/tour?
Here are some tips for purchasing tanzanite while on safari in eastern Africa. Make sure you visit a reputable dealer who can give you all of your options, including whether or not it is natural color (some cheaper gems have synthetic colors added). Since tanzanite has become such a popular gemstone, it can be found just about anywhere, so be sure to check out reputable sources before making a purchase. Finally, make sure that what you buy comes with certification, if an item doesn’t come with paperwork proving its authenticity and value, then proceed with caution. It’s never worth risking buying fake jewelry even if it seems like a great deal. You never want to take chances when buying precious stones as they often look alike when viewed up close. Don’t forget that real African tanzanite will always be light blue/purple and you should look at how light reflects off of each stone, as well as other physical traits such as how straight edges are cut into each piece, good pieces will reflect more light than poor quality ones.
While on safari in Eastern Africa, you may have noticed beautiful, dark blue stones that sparkle more than any other gemstone. These are Tanzanite stones, which hold a unique place in African history and culture and are valued by many for their beauty and color. Don’t let these gorgeous gems fly under your radar,