Everything You Need to Know About Tanzanite

| 4 min read

From its distinctive violet-blue hue to its single-location source, Tanzanite is one of the most remarkable stones ever discovered. Found much more recently compared to other gemstones, Tanzanite has only been recognised for less than a century; however, it’s quickly risen to fame to become one of the most sought-after gemstones on the market today.

Here, we look at the short but mighty legacy of Tanzanite, and explore exactly how this one-location wonder came to be.


Tanzanite is a transparent stone, and sits alongside Zircon and Turquoise as the birthstone for December. But one of the things we love the most about Tanzanite is that we know precisely when it was first spotted by human eyes. We don’t have the pleasure of knowing when and how gemstones such as Zircon or Diamond were stumbled upon - but for Tanzanite, it’s different.

At the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967, Manuel de Souza first discovered Tanzanite. Considered the biggest gemstone find of the 20th century, Manuel originally thought the stone to be Olivine; but, after further testing, it was discovered to be the lustrous Tanzanite that we love today.



Crystal System Orthohombic

Specific Gravity 3.1 - 3.4

Refractive Index 1.69 - 1.70

Chemical Formula Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH)

Composition Calcium Aluminium Silicate


After its groundbreaking discovery, Tanzanite was affectionately named after the country it was found in: Tanzania.

Tiffany & Co named the new gemstone Tanzanite after making a deal to become its main distributor, and promoted it using a large campaign in 1968. Virtually overnight, Tanzanite gained a reputation of being one of the most coveted gemstones in the world.


Mount Kilimanjaro

As mentioned before, Tanzanite is sourced from just one location on Earth. The mine lies near Mount Kilimanjaro, and is approximately 2km wide and 4km long.

Since its discovery, an estimated two million carats of Tanzanite had been mined before the mining area was nationalised by the Tanzanian government. This occurred in 1990, and the mining area was split by the government into four sections, labelled A, B, C and D. Now, sections A and C of the mine can be used by foreign operators and large corporations, and sections B and D can be mined by locals.


Because Tanzanite was only discovered in the last century, you may think there is little legend surrounding the stone. However, collectors and enthusiasts believe that it could deepen a person’s psychic abilities. Some also believe that Tanzanite can help to strengthen the immune system, as well as aid emotional and stress-related issues.

When it comes to metaphysical properties of gemstones, we must point out that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are authentic. However, it is an interesting concept that we believe deserves further exploration.


Loose Tanzanite gemstones

Tanzanite is a relatively hard gemstone, sitting at 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, however this does not mean it can withstand tough methods of cleaning.

Avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaning when maintaining your Tanzanite – warm soapy water should do the job and do it well.


Tanzanite, just like all gemstones, should be kept separate from stronger gemstones to avoid scratching. If you choose to have your Tanzanite stones set into jewellery, we'd recommend removing your pieces before engaging in heavy work or exercise.

We've only been aware of Tanzanite’s existence for a few decades; however, it’s quickly become one of the most desirable gemstones on the market today, and it’s easy to see why.

Are you looking to add Tanzanite to your gemstone collection? You can shop it right here on GemCollector.


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