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A Tanzanite Gemstone Is A Thousand Times Rarer Than A Diamond

Updated on November 17, 2012

Tanzanite Gemstone Is Africa's Rarest Treasure!

Imagine a gemstone so exquisite that it radiates a hundred hues of velvet blue and sensual violet from every facet. A gemstone so precious, it is found only in one place on earth. So extraordinarily rare, that in a single generation, there will be no more. Tanzanite stones are used in all forms of jewelry and in some cases it has been chosen to replace diamond earrings, rings and necklaces.

My first encounter with the beautiful blue stone called Tanzanite was in March 2005 whilst on holiday at Sun City in South Africa. Apart from its rarity, its beauty and the price of Tanzanite I was captured by the fact that unlike a diamond where you would have a point 35 of a carat diamond in a ring, with Tanzanite the shop keeper spoke in terms of 1, 3, 5 or 9 carat sizes.

Wow! Bling really was Bling when you owned Tanzanite. The Bigger the tanzanite stone and the higher the grade of the stone you were buying in terms of its colour, its clarity, the cut of the stone and carat size the better. This relatively new stone from Afrika, really did punch outside the conventional diamond arena in terms of size.

Needless to say we acquired a piece of Afrika in the way of a AAA 3.98 carat, Pearl cut with a clarity of IF = Internally flawless and just to add the killer punch our stone was from the Tanzanite Foundation and we had a certificate from them, we even knew where in the mine our stone was found originally. Wow! this was our investment for the future!

The Home of Tanzanite

The Home of Tanzanite
The Home of Tanzanite

The Source of Tanzanite - Tanzanite is to be found in a thin strip of 5 kilometers at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro

The Gemstone Story of Tanzanite so far!

Tanzanite's Unique History

The discovery of Tanzanite is something of a mystery. There are numerous African stories as to how Tanzanite was discovered. The most popular story is that a Maasai warrior is reported in 1967 to have found a translucent crystal at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. He was fascinated by its blue-violet hue. The warrior shared his find with a prospector, who was searching for rubies at the time. The prospector believed he had found a vibrant sapphire, neither the prospector nor the Maasai warrior had any idea that they had stumbled upon a new gemstone. It was found that the crystal had a composition that was more complex than a sapphire and had a colour that was more intriguing, more alluring, and more exotic than any other gemstone. It was a thousand times rarer than a diamond.

As word of the new gemstone spread prospectors and warrior started to lay claim to the mining area. Between 1967 to 1972, an estimated two million carats of Tanzanite were mined from open cast mining operations. The mines were later nationalised by the Tanzanian government and concessions issued in the form of blocks. In 2004, the Tanzanite One Group had acquired Afgem's tanzanite business and assets.

It took 550 Million Years to Create Tanzanite Gemstone!

It unique geology

The only known source of Tanzanite is situated in the foothills of Africa's tallest mountain, the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro on the Tanzania side, lying hidden is a tiny cache of the unique and precious gemstone. Created hundreds of millions of years ago when the continents collided, tanzanite owes its existence to a cataclysm little short of a geological miracle.

Today, tanzanite is buried within a labyrinth of complex folds beneath the earth's surface. Tanzanite is to be found only in a thin strip of approximately 5 km long. Geology experts on gems believe that this is the only source in the world. And it will be exhausted in about 15 years.

Could mother earth ever produce tanzanite again? It could only happen again if the continents collided again under the same precise conditions and if we waited another 550 million years it took to create tanzanite the first time. It is hardly surprising that tanzanite should be as individualistic as it is when you consider where it has come from.

Tanzanite Foundation

Setting the Standards

The Tanzanite Foundation **, is regarded as the premium endorser for tanzanite, cuts and polishes, grades, certifies and hallmarks premium quality tanzanite, to assure owners that their tanzanite is natural, that it has been cut to exacting standards and that it is accurately graded.

Furthermore the Tanzanite Foundation’s Declaration of Practice promises that its tanzanite has made the journey from mine to market with complete integrity and strict adherence to social and environmental ethics.

Selecting a tanzanite gem worthy of the Foundation’s endorsement is an intricate process, in which only one in a hundred passes muster and displays the right mix of colour, clarity and quality of cut.

Tanzanite that passes this rigorous selection system is microscopically inscribed with the Tanzanite Foundation’s hallmark of quality. In addition, each stone inscribed in this way is sold with corresponding certificate that identifies it, describes the colour, clarity and cut and guarantees that the stone is natural.

**The Tanzanite Foundation is a trademark of the AFGEM Group

American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) named tanzanite as a December birthstone in 2002

Distinctive beauty has earned this gem its status

American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) named tanzanite as a December birthstone in 2002

In recognition of tanzanite's growing desirability, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) named tanzanite as a December birthstone in 2002, amending a list that had not been changed since 1912.

'Affordability and distinctive beauty has earned this gem a status that rivals that of sapphire. Although the Tiffany & Co connection gained the newcomer worldwide publicity, tanzanite has won international popularity on its own merit in the last decade.

Your Guide to Buying Tanzanite

Ensure you meet the 5 C's

In a similar way to buying diamonds, the Tanzanite Foundation grades Tanzanite according to the FIVE C's; Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. The higher the combination of these characteristics, the rarer and more valuable the tanzanite stone. Understand and check all 5 C's before buying your tanzanite

COLOUR - Intensity of colour and saturation of blue to violet

Color refers to color quality and its degree of saturation. The depth of color ranges from Exceptional to Pale, with a 'B' or 'V' indicating a predominance of blue or violet hues. The deeper the color, the more valuable the tanzanite.

CLARITY - Description of natural flaws and inclusions

Clarity refers to any natural flaws and inclusions in a tanzanite. Tanzanite's ranges from Eye Clean to Heavily Included. The more flawless the tanzanite, the more valuable it is.

CUT - Proportions and brilliance

Cut refers to a tanzanite's brilliance, proportions and finish. An 'Excellent' cut ensures that the stone's facets reflect liught to create maximum brilliance. The more precise the craftsman's cutting, the more vlauable the tanzanite.

CARAT - A weight management, equivalent to 1/5th of a gram

Carat Weight is the term used to measure a tanzanite's weight. One carat has 100 points and weighs 1/5 of a gram. Two seemingly identical tanzanite's will have different Carat Weights if they vary in depth.

CONFIDENCE - The 5th C

The 5th C is Confidence and is only applicable to tanzanite which is accompanied by the Mark of Rarity Tm. The Mark of Rarity Tm is the icon of the Tanzanite Foundation and is synonoymous with Confidence. It is assurance that your tanzanite has followed an ethical route to market.

World's Biggest Tanzanite Gem Found Near Kilimanjaro

The reporter on this story: Mark Cobley in London at mcobley@bloomberg.net

The world's biggest piece of tanzanite, a blue-violet gem rarer than diamond, was unearthed near Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro. Shares in TanzaniteOne Ltd., which found the rock, rose the most in almost 10 months.

The stone weighs a record 16,839 carats and is the size of a brick, company spokeswoman Renata Da Silva said by phone today from Johannesburg. TanzaniteOne hasn't valued the rock yet and doesn't know how many polished carats will be made from it.

``It's a pretty amazing find; this thing is huge,'' said Kevin Tomlinson, director of natural resources at ING Groep NV's Williams de Broe stockbrokers in London. ``There are collectors out there that will pay a big premium for this sort of stone.'' He declined to guess its value. Read More...

Time Magazine - Romancing A New Stone

Article Written by Sarah Laurenaudie/Merelani

Most gems are found in several places in the world. Emeralds come from Colombia but also from Zimbabwe; there's amethyst on almost every continent; and diamonds-although associated with Africa-are mined in Russia and Australia, among other places.

Not tanzanite. The stone, which is often likened to blue sapphire but is more brilliant with violet overtones, was discovered only 40 years ago, and geologists are convinced that it occurs in only one place in the world: Africa's Rift Valley, 25 miles from the base of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, in a little place called Merelani.

Twenty minutes down a dusty unpaved road, about 30 miles east of Arusha, past Masai herdsmen in traditional dress, is the guarded entrance to the mines. Ahead, teams of donkeys are carrying drinking water to the miners. At a glance, you can take in the entire four-mile stretch where the tanzanite is buried in maddening folds deep below the earth's surface. It's hard to get an exact fix on how much is there-geologists recently updated their models and project a 15-year supply. Of course, it depends on all sorts of variables. Whether the biggest companies produce to capacity; whether hundreds of small local miners, without the sophisticated machinery or the credit lines of the big guys, can continue to tunnel ever deeper to follow the vein. Whether plucky independent owners like Money A. Yousuph-who hasn't pulled out any tanzanite since 2002, when he sold a 2.2-lb. chunk for $275,000 at a Las Vegas trade fair-get lucky. "I'm about to," he says confidently.

My first encounter with tanzanite, however, was not in Africa but in Jaipur, India, where many of the world's colored gems are cut and polished. After merrily emptying canisters of emeralds, a local dealer there, Ashok Chordia, abruptly signaled his assistants to close the wooden shutters overlooking his competitors' offices. In the dark, he flipped the lids of two metal boxes filled with nuggets he identified as tanzanite. "Very, very rare," he said mysteriously. "More precious than diamonds." To Read More ...

Tanzanite Chart

Tanzanite Chart
Tanzanite Chart

Worn by the Famous and Celebrities around the world

Make sure you buy the highest grading you can afford!

Tanzanite was an exciting new discovery, so new, in fact neither the original prospector nor the Maasai Warrior had any idea that they had stumbled upon a gemstone that up until then had never been seen and, of course, had no name.

Halfway around the world, the significance of the discovery was plain to Henry B Platt, great grandson of Louis Comfort Tiffany and later president and chairman of New York's Tiffany & Co. It was Henry B Platt who named the stone tanzanite and who, at the gem's debut at Tiffany in October 1968, remarked that it was 'the most beautiful blue stone discovered in over 2,000 years'.

Tanzanite's most outstanding feature is that it radiates different colours simultaneously. When cut and polished, the stone reflects a variegated blend of indigo, royal blue and lilac. This range of tones and hues offers jewellery designers a rich palette from which to create their pieces. Stones with the deepest intensity of colour fetch the highest prices.

Tanzanite stones are bought by celebrities all over the world and they have chosen to replace their usual diamond earrings, rings and necklaces with Tanzanite. This has further enhanced Tanzanite s' reputation as one of the rarest gemstones on earth

The Rarity of Tanzanite

Reported Tanzanite Terrorist Links

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks

On November 16, 2001, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, a front-page Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article by Daniel Pearl and Robert Block alleged that significant al-Qaeda funding was generated through illicit trade in tanzanite. "According to miners and local residents, Muslim extremists loyal to bin Laden buy stones from miners and middlemen, smuggling them out of Tanzania to free-trade havens such as Dubai, Jamaica and Hong Kong." The Tanzanian Mineral Dealers Association insisted there was no connection between al-Qaeda and their industry, while a Tanzanian government investigator insisted there was a connection. The article suggested that as much as 90% of tanzanite was thought to be smuggled out of the country. Later statements proved the math conducted by the Wall Street Journal to be based on comparisons with the sales of rough gems in Tanzania to the sale of cut gemstones in the US, two different products in two different markets. The smuggling problem charges were not new; a 1990 New York Times article reported that "Economists say much of the country's bountiful natural wealth - gold, rubies, tanzanite - is smuggled across the border into Kenya with the collusion of Government officials.... read the rest of the Wikipedia article !

Amazon Bookshop - For more information on Tanzanite

Join the Tanzanite Debate

Do you think Tanzanite is RARER than a DIAMOND?

Tanzanite Guestbook - We appreciate your comments and any information that you would like to offer

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    • profile image

      Traveller579 4 years ago

      Superb lens!!!!

    • Vikki w profile image

      Vikki w 5 years ago

      Wow, i never know there's any stone that is much more valuable than diamond, interesting

    • Vallygems1 profile image

      Vallygems1 5 years ago

      There are a lot of misconceptions about Tanzanite. It is a honey brown variety of Zoisite and gets its colour from heat treatment. It should never be used in rings as it is to soft. It was first brought to the publics attention by Tiffany,s and the late Campbell Bridges after been shown to Manuel D'Souza a geologist of Goa,n descent by local tribesmen. It is not found in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro ( remember its a freestanding mountain) rather in the Merelani area which part of the Lelatema Mt,s in Tanzania .

      Small deposits have also been found in Kenya. There is nothing to stop further deposits being found as Zoisite is a common mineral.

      Hope this helps

      Warm Regards

      Chris

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Great!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Wow - it is gorgeous! I was not familiar with tanzanite.

    • BrickHouseFabrics profile image

      BrickHouseFabrics 6 years ago

      I remember the cover of Life magazine with an African man holding Tanzanite...

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      I had never heard of this stone before but it really is beautiful. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great lens and education about tanzanite!

    • Carmel Aaron profile image

      Carmel Aaron 6 years ago

      Thank you for this information. I had no idea that Tanzanite was so rare. Great presentation of the beauty and the history of tanzanite.

      thumbs up

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a lovely lens. I love my Tanzanite ring, people admire it all the time, even though most people think it is a sapphire!

    • pixelposy profile image

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      Thanks for the interesting and informative lens. I agree the common jewelry store diamond isn't rare at all, they are just marketed extremely well. If tanzanite can truly only be found in one spot and I read somewhere that that source is close to running out, then it is indeed a rare gem. It will be interesting to see if it will ever become as highly prized as diamond.

      https://bellatory.com/fashion-accessories/moissani

    • profile image

      AllyVuitton 6 years ago

      I can see why diamonds are more popular - I personally think tanzanites look a bit plastic! Great lens, though!

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      quite incredible, especially since they say they suspect whole planets made of diamonds now, so Tanzanite could be the rarest gem ever.

    • PositiveChristi1 profile image

      PositiveChristi1 6 years ago

      A very thorough and well researched review of this precious stone. (Although I'm not sure how anybody can do anything but guess what happened millions of years ago) A fascinating lens.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      Squidroom 7 years ago

      After reading this article, I've come to know the importance of my tanzanite engagement ring. thanks

    • profile image

      NickJ1000 7 years ago

      This is a very informative lens. i learnt a lot about Tanzanite. Another site which was interesting was : tanzanite jewelry

    • Risa28 profile image

      Risa28 8 years ago

      Nice lens. I appreciate the pix and info about my favorite stone. 5*s

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I just know about this tanzanite coz of yourlens, great post keep it up

      5 precious stars.. =D

      Kind regards,

      Matthew Ferry

    • Gordon N Hamilton profile image

      Gordon N Hamilton 9 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Fantastic lens with lots of great information. I have never previously heard of tanzanite - and I'll be going out of my way to make sure that my good lady doesn't either!!!

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 9 years ago

      Hi, I saw your link the forum. You did a nice job putting this lens together (I can learn for you, hah). Lots of great pictures. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      It's a pity that such a beautiful stone will one day run out. Looks like I will have to buy the girlfriend the ring of her dream before the price goes up and it is unaffordable for us

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Tanzanite is a beautiful gem but I've read very little about it.

      Great information.

      5*

      Lizzy

    • James20 profile image

      James20 9 years ago

      Hi, a great lens on tanzanite. 5*****

      James

    • profile image

      InspiredWritingResearch 9 years ago

      Beautiful,beautiful tanzanite - and lens too! Faved! Sad about any negative issues for Tanzanean people. Well done.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      A great lens with a lot of information. Tanzanite looks beautiful.

    • beeobrien lm profile image

      beeobrien lm 9 years ago

      I love tanzanite. Gorgeous and such a fascinating story. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      DebtClear 9 years ago

      This is a fascinating site. I was really amazed by some of the information in it. I have been to Kilimanjaro and I didn't know that about it.

    • profile image

      alfie111 9 years ago

      I think your site is wicked and I love the pic of Mount Kimanjaro. If a diamond is a girls best friend then Tanzanite must be forever and ever.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This is a nice lens, good job. 5***** I'm pleased to be able to be the first to rate it for you.