Tanzanite Information

Tanzanite is the blue variety of the Zoisite mineral family, is a relative young gemstone discovered only in 1967 but became really popular after that popular jewel company Tiffany spent a lot of effort to promote this new gemstone to the market, its name derives from the origin country of the mineral where it was first mined, that was Tanzania in Africa.

The original name would be Zoisite, but it sound too similar to “suicide” so they decided to adopt the name Tanzanite to distinguish the attractive blue variety from the rest of Zoisite minerals.

Zoisite is commonly mined in dark brown or green color, not a really attractive color, it is treated by heat to extinguish the green tone in the mineral and change its original color into a more attractive violet blue color.

Its color can vary from a deep blue color, with strong saturation (close to the Royal blue Sapphire color) to a nice bluish violet color.

Sometimes crystals present some color zone with green tonality and blue in the same stone.

This is a really attractive stone, often found in large size and with nice transparency that can produce big beautiful faceted gemstones with eye clean clarity.

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tanzanite natural gemstone


Tanzanite Healing Properties

Associated with the throat chakra and the crown chakra, in the birthstone it is the stone of December, it is considered a spiritual stone, which helps in communication and problem solving, it gives calmness and can be useful in meditation.

Tanzanite generates happiness, inspire compassion, can improve your creativity and communication and cure your headaches.


Tanzanite Treatment

Zoisite is commonly mined in dark brown or green color, not a really attractive color, Tanzanite is produced by treating by heat Zoisite minerals to extinguish the green and yellow tone in the mineral and change its original color into a more attractive violet blue color.

Heat treatment is a common procedure for Tanzanite gemstones and other variety of gemstones from different mineral families, so it is considered acceptable.

Heat treatment is a stable gemstone treatment, final blue or violet Tanzanite color is stable and it will not fade.


Origin and gemstone source

The only country that produce this variety of Zoisite is Tanzania, in Africa, the stones and the gemstones quality material are mined near Arusha in the Merelani Hills districts.

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Optical Effect

This stone can sometimes contains internal inclusions in the crystal, if cut into cabochon, with inclusions lines parallels to the light axes it can show a nice chatoyancy effect. Cat’s eye Tanzanite are rare because usually tanzanite has a nice transparent clarity.

This variety from Zoisite mineral family has  strong pleochroism, which means that can show different colors if observed from different point of view, also some gemstone rich in color with strong saturation can be color switcher, under daylight or cold light displays a bluish color but under incandescent light display a more violet tone.


Images and photos

tanzanite faceted-tanzanite tanzanite-gemstone

tanzanite-rough tanzanite-crystal tanzanite-rough-stone

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Lovely stone for mineral collectors and gem collectors, the violet variety of Zoisite is also loved by the jewel industry, after the recent promotion and marketing efforts done by Tiffany, it is now one of the most appreciated and desirable gemstones out there.

Considered a durable stone with an hardness of 6.5 – 7 this gemstone is usually faceted in the most popular cut like: oval, round, cushion, pear, emerald/octagonal, trilliant, this kind of gemstone can be set without problems in elegant and original high end jewels like rings, pendants, bracelets, necklace or earrings when found in gem quality.

Tanzanite price is really affordable especially for the lighter gemstones so it can be used also for economic jewels like silver ring, pendants and similar.

Sometimes it present visible inclusions or traslucent clarity, in this case stones are cut into cabochon gemstones.

Heavy included or opaque stones are usually cut into chips, beads, briolette or carved into sculptures.


Care and Cleaning

Natural Tanzanite doesn’t requires specific care, but like any other gemstone you must take some precautions, especially during the cleanings, avoid steam or ultrasonic machine, use instead a soapy water with a clean cloth to dry it.

Remember to store your gemstone separately from other harder stones because, gems like: ruby, sapphire, topaz, aquamarine can easily scratch your Tanzanite.

If you are a jeweler remember, when setting them, that it cleaves easily, so be careful.


Scam and Fraud

This is an appreciated stone from the gem market and from the buyers out there, unfortunately there are some unscrupulous stone sellers s that can sell you counterfeited Tanzanite, here some useful tips to spot Tanzanite fraud.

It differentiates from similar stone by some optical effect and properties like: pleochroism, hardness, color, refractive index and density.

Some other natural gemstones has similar appearance to Tanzanite, some of them are: Sapphire and Iolite, this last one is easy to find sold for tanzanite, but a trained eye can spot that Iolite usually has darker color, sapphire also is more blue than Tanzanite which its color tent to violet.

Synthetics are not produced yet, but some lab grown man made like Cubic Zirconia or colored glass can be sold Tanzanite to inexpert customer.

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Typical Internal Inclusions

Observing this gemstone at microscope you can find some typical inclusions like: little feathers, crystals inclusions, needles, that can help you to recognize it from other different gemstone with similar look.


Gemological Info

  • Mineral family: Zoisite (Calcium aluminum silicate, Sorosilicate)
  • Crystal: Orthorhombic
  • Density: 2.9 – 3.35
  • Hardness: 6.5 – 7
  • Refractive index: 1.685 – 1.707
  • Optic Character: Biaxial positive
  • Color: Blue, violet blue, greenish blue
  • Cause of color: presence of Vanadium
  • Luster: Vitreous
  • Clarity: Transparent Type 1 (often eye clean)
  • Fluorescent: None, Inert
  • Fracture: Uneven to Conchoidal
  • Cleavage: Perfect, Prismatic
  • Durability: Medium High

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