Tanzanite is the blue variety of zoisite, a mineral that belongs to the group of silicates. Zoisite was discovered in 1805 by the German gemologist A.G. Wagner but in its opaque and yellowish-brown variety.
Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 by the Maasai tribes of northern Tanzania, in an area covering 10 to 20 km2 on the slopes of the Kilimanjaro volcano. It is the only mining site of this gem in the world. It is estimated to be around 600 million years old.
The color of this gem ranges from vibrant blue to violet. Its coloration is due to the fact that tanzanite has 3 color scales interposing blue, red with violet and greenish-yellow brown (bronze color). This can be appreciated depending on the angle at which the stone is observed and how it was cut. Usually blue tones are highlighted, which is also achieved by treating tanzanite with heat.
The name was given by Tiffany's, the first jewelry house to have a tanzanite in its possession after its discovery.
Legend has it that tanzanite was found by a group of Maasai herders after a forest fire. The usually brown stones scattered on the ground would have turned blue from the heat.
The color blue is sacred to the Maasai. The chiefs of these tribes have a tradition of giving tanzanites to the new born as a symbol of blessing, wishing them good health and a full and beautiful life.
Being found only in Tanzania in a very small area, it is estimated that the deposits of this gem will be exhausted in the coming decades. Due to its scarcity, it is theorized that tanzanite is a thousand times rarer than diamond. It has been proposed that it be categorized as the fifth precious gem next to diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald.
The Maasai tribes that trade tanzanite are not interested in the other gems found in the area, including garnets, rubies, and diamonds.
Tanzanite is linked to 3 chakras; the throat, the third eye and the crown. It is said that it stimulates imagination, artistic creation, literary talent and humor. It would also help with memory as well as arouse curiosity.
In addition to influencing self-improvement, it is also suggested for those who need to move on. It is said to have benefits on sight and hearing, strengthening intuition and extrasensory perceptions. It is recommended for meditation, as it is a spiritual guide.
On the physical level, tanzanite is said to have an enhancing effect on the brain. This brain activation results in the regeneration of the body as well as facilitating the irrigation of the nervous system and the proper functioning of the digestive and renal systems.
Its weight rarely exceeds 100 grams. There are some variants of this gem; among them we can find the chameleon tanzanite with its reflections of multiple colors and the cat's eye variant.
The most famous tanzanite is the Queen of Kilimanjaro. Weighing 242 carats (just over 48 grams), it was set in a tiara alongside 803 tsavorites (green garnets) and 913 diamonds. It was created by Tiffany's and is part of the personal collection of Michael Scott, the CEO of Apple.