What is Tanzanite
Tanzanite, which has the Mohs hardness between 6-7, is a special name for Zoisite that looks blue or violet because of Vanadium. Due to the phenomenon of pleochroism, we can see blue, purple and violet on a single Tanzanite. Three colors can sometimes appear at the same side or they could be seen singly depends on the angle of the stone, normally big Tanzanite look better than small ones. Tanzanite was first discovered in 1960s in Tanzania, which is one of the late discovered gemstone, and until now Tanzania is still the only country that has Tanzanite mine. At the beginning Tanzanite was named as “Blue Zoisite”, however, considered that “Zoisite” sounds similar to “suicide”, people decided to name the stone after Tanzania. In fact, only few Tanzanite have beautiful colors when they digged out, most of the Tanzanite on the market are ones without fine color treated by heat. Since heating is an acceptable treatment for public, the price between natural Tanzanite and heated Tanzanite does not show big difference, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish when appraising, therefore, the certificate often mentioned that Tanzanite has been heated or not cannot be determined.
Legend and History of Tanzanite
In 1967, Maasai discovered some blue crystals near the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, this news interested a man who went there for searching gemstones. He thought a new sapphire mine was found before he started analyzing the blue stone but soon realized that it was a new kind of gemstone that had not been discovered, and to people’s surprise, this beautiful stone is a kind of Zoisite, which has nothing related to pretty. It is said that Tanzanite could be found on the surface of earth in the first place was because a wildfire heated up the brown color Zoisite and turned it into blue. Since the color is too conspicuous, the Maasai who went back to inspect the land after the fire would never missed it. After Tanzanite got the new name, it made a big hit in the gemstone market, it was even regarded as” the most beautiful blue gemstone discovered in the late 2000 years”. When the famous movie, Titanic released, people believed that the gorgeous Heart of Ocean in the movie was actually made of Tanzanite rather than Sapphire, the fame of Tanzanite became even higher.
Tanzanite Foundation was organized in 2003 by a group of Tanzanite miners that practice ethical Tanzanite mining, including the biggest Tanzanite mining company, TanzaniteOne. The foundation contribute to Tanzanite promotion and support ethical mining and selling, thus they provide Tanzanite sales training. Besides building up proper Tanzanite market route, Tanzanite Foundation helps residents in Tanzanite mining area to promote quality of life by constructing facilities like schools or health centers with donations. The foundation even teach women to make jewelry with rough stones given by mining company so they can earn some money as well as building their traditional culture.