A thousand times rarer than diamonds, tanzanite is a surprisingly affordable gemstone. The gem has a deep blue-violet color and is part of the zoisite family. The gem has most famously been worn as the spectacular “Heart of the Ocean” necklace from the movie Titanic.
Due to the small area where the gem can be found, it is known as the “gem of a generation,” meaning that the natural supply of the stone will be exhausted within the next 25 years. In its original state, it is often a brownish red in color, requiring heat treatment to bring out the blue and violet hues.
General Information about Tanzanite
Tanzanite is a rare gem found only in a 2 km by 7 km area near the Mirerani Hills of Tanzania. The gem was discovered in 1967 by a local Masai tribesman, Ali Juuyawatu. He showed the stones to a local gold prospector, Manuel D’Souza. D’Souza was hoping to find a sapphire deposit, but when he examined the gems, they were much too hard to be sapphires. Mystified, he sent the gem away to be identified.
Proper identification of the gem is credited to the Gemological Institute of America. Scientists categorized the gem as a sorosilicate of the zoisite family. The gem was originally known as blue zoisite, but the name was changed for commercial marketing because the name sounded too much like “blue suicide.” Tiffany’s, the first jeweler to market the stone, gave it the name “tanzanite.” The gem became a popular choice due to its stunning color and affordability.
The natural gem is pleochroic, meaning that when the stone is tilted, three colors are visible in three different crystal directions. The stone is generally heat treated, making it dichroic with blue and violet colors.
Since 1968, the stone has been marketed around the world. Its color makes it much sought-after. In 2002, it was named one of December’s birthstones, the first time a new birthstone had been added since 1912.
Properties of Tanzanite
- Alternative Names: Blue zoisite;
- Varieties: Tanzanite;
- Hardness: 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale;
- Luster: Vitreous, pearly on cleavage surfaces;
- Color: Blue-violet to violet-blue, pleochroic.
Tanzanite is found as a prismatic crystal with striations. The form is massive to columnar.
Metaphysical Details About Tanzanite
Tanzanite stimulates the psychic abilities and helps to clear the mind. It helps the seeker open his or her Brow Chakra, enhancing the flow of psychic ability without letting it become overwhelming. The gem promotes the opening of the Third Eye. To open it, rub the gem clockwise on the forehead, and to close it, rub the gem counterclockwise.
The stone promotes communication and understanding, making it an excellent choice for use in the workplace. Counselors and empaths find the gem especially beneficial since it focuses the mind and enhances transfer of emotions and understanding. Seekers wearing tanzanite find their reward in a greater sense of connection with those around them. The stone promotes enlightenment and truth, enabling the wearer to see life more clearly.
In crystal lore, the stone reportedly did not take on its blue-violet color until it was struck by lightning. Lightning is part of the stone’s symbolism, revealing a bolt of illumination to clear the seeker’s thinking and bring inspiration. The beauty of the blue-violet color also provides calm and clarity to those who see the gem, even if they are not wearing it. The gem also promotes connection with the seeker’s guardian angel.
The color also determines the Feng Shui benefits of the stone. Deep blue stones bring Water energy. Violet stones bring Fire energy. Both types of tanzanite clear the environment of malign influences.
Examples of Famous Jewelry Containing Tanzanite
The “Heart of the Ocean,” the famous necklace worn by Kate Winslet in the 1997 film Titanic, was called a blue diamond in the screenplay but is in reality a 28 carat Tanzanite. Blue diamond does not have the same depth of color saturation as tanzanite. The necklace caused a pop culture sensation and many replicas have been produced over the years.
Beyoncé has worn a 10+ carat cushion cut tanzanite ring, thought to be a gift to commemorate the birth of her daughter Blue Ivy.
How to Wear It
Tanzanite boasts an incredible and unique beauty. The gem is striking even in the commonly available small stones. Those interested in psychic abilities and metaphysics wear the gem to enhance and focus emotional and intellectual energy, as well as connection with others. The gem is more delicate than others of its type and should never be cleaned using ultrasonic methods.
Where Can We Find Tanzanite Today?
Tanzanite’s extreme rarity means that it can only be found in a small local area in Tanzania. The mines are dug underground and explosives are used to expose more earth. It is not especially hard on miners or on the environment, though any underground mining is difficult.
The economic factors, however, have been challenging to cope with. Smuggling and illegal mining drove the price down. Tanzania is attempting to take control of their most famous export. In 2017, the Tanzanian government began fencing in the mines to cut down on smuggling.
The tanzanite gem is as beautiful as it is rare. The stone is famous for appearing in Titanic as the “Heart of the Ocean.” While it is an inexpensive gem, market conditions that promoted its low cost are changing; invest in the stone before the prices are driven up.
The metaphysical properties of tanzanite make it an attractive stone for counselors, teachers, and anyone who needs to open themselves to psychic abilities.
If you have worn the gem, comment below and share your experiences with other visitors. Tell us how tanzanite has affected your life.