Articles / Update on Tanzanite: Magnificent Gemstone Is Back on Top

Tanzanite, the magnificent violet blue gemstone, has had a rocky ride during its relatively short existence. One of the most recently discovered gems, tanzanite made its debut in 1969, fairly late in history compared to diamonds, pearls, rubies and sapphires. According to gemologists, tanzanite is actually blue zoisite, but soon after its discovery, it was named for Tanzania, the African country of its origin.

Over the past two decades, tanzanite has captured the attention of fashionable women all over the world who love its flattering hues on their skin.

Demand for the gem has been very strong, but unfortunately, there are limited amounts of tanzanite being mined and the finest quality stones with the richest colorations have become increasingly rare and costly. As a result, many jewelry designers split their options: top-of-the-line collections featured tanzanite set in platinum with diamond accents; popular-priced lines offered paler colored tanzanite in 14-karat gold settings.

About a year ago, when tanzanite was pretty much a household word and women were eagerly seeking rings, pendants and earrings, the gemstone's popularity was threatened by rumors that international terrorists were using profits from tanzanite to fund their activities. Some retailers pulled the gem from their stocks and some designers stopped using it.

However, to this date, no direct link between tanzanite and terrorist activity has been substantiated, and designers say that consumers are once again excited about tanzanite for self-purchases and gifts.

Considered the alternate gemstone for the month of December, tanzanite has proven to be elegant and highly versatile. Its blue/violet tones perfectly enhance clothing in purple, violet and mauve, all hues of blue, red and pink.

For the ultimate in luxury, choose one of the popular three-stone ring designs with a tanzanite center flanked by two diamonds. Or bring the fabulous color close to your face with colorful earrings or an eye-catching pendant.

David WeissDavid Weiss

Graduate Gemologist, GIA
Certified Appraiser