Friday, October 14, 2011

Gemstone of the Week: Tanzanite

Tanzanite belongs to the Zoisite group of minerals.  It was discovered in the 1960's near Mt. Kilimanjaro and was given the name "Tanzanite" by Henry Platt, the then vice-president and director of Tiffany's, after its country of origin. Tanzanite is a beautiful stone that from one angle may appear blue, but from another purple.  There may even be flashes of red, green, yellow, or bown.  Tanzanite may even be a different colour indoors than it is outdoors. There are some disagreements among mineralogists as to what the term "Tanzanite" should refer to.  Some argue it should only be used to refer to the transparent blue-purple varieties of Zoisite, and that all other colours should be called by their mineralogical name "Zoisite".  However, often it is used to refer to the other colours simply because the name "Tanzantie" is more marketable than "Zoisite."  Tanzanite can have a per carat value of as high as $1,200 depending on the quality and colour of the stone. 

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