I am in Zanzibar, and I have fallen totally in love with the gemstone Tanzanite, and I am sure you will too when you see the beauty of this gemstone.
Tanzanite has amazing colours ranging from the deepest blue to bluish violet. I went to see a cutting facility in the outskirts of Stonetown and was intrigued by how they use old cutting techniques to get the beauty out of this gemstone.
But what is Tanzanite actually, and why don’t we see more of it?
Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 by a farmer in Tanzania, in a remote place close to Kilimanjaro. He sold the stone, and it eventually ended up at Tiffanys office, which was thrilled to see a fantastic new gemstone. Tiffany named it Tanzanite after the country where it was found; Tanzania.
Tanzanite is only mined in this one place, and the mining area is only about 6 km2. Miners expect to be able to mine Tanzanite for another 25 years, then the mine is empty, and there will not be any more gemstones of this beautiful colour.
Only 1% of the Tanzanite mined is of high quality. So take that into mind when you look at Tanzanite.
But what do I look for when I am buying Tanzanite?
As always when I am examining coloured gemstones “colour is King”. The stone’s colour is really the most important factor.
And then you might ask, what colour should it have?
Humans have always sought gemstones of the deepest colours, it is part of our psyche. This has obviously been translated into a value system for gemstones. And this applies certainly also to Tanzanite, where the most vivid and deepest saturated colours are the most sought after.
Colour grading is very technical and complicated, we look at all different factors, especially for Tanzanite, where the sellers actually can put the grade on the stones themselves. This means that they can valuate any gemstone for quality AAA, AA, and A, adding a + or maybe ++ if they think the colour is even more extraordinary, or if they think they will sell it easier.
But let me make it simple for you.
Look at the saturation of colour.
The saturation means the depth of the colour in the gemstone. You want a gemstone with as much colour as possible without being too dark, greyish or black.
The more saturated the colour is in Tanzanite the more valuable is the stone. This is not only because humans have always wanted the most colourful gems, but also because the more saturated, the rarer the gem becomes.
In this photo, you will see how the colour saturation drops, And the prices will drop likewise. I am looking for gemstones, which are highly saturated and have a deep deep blue colour.
As mentioned before it is only 1% of all mined Tanzanite which has the deepest colour saturation.
The next thing I look at is the Tone.
How dark is the gemstone? We want a Tanzanite which sparkles with intense colour. Here you can see that you can get less saturated gems in dark tones, you don’t want them, you want highly saturated deep tones.
What colour does the Tanzanite have?
Tanzanites have a very interesting chemical structure and show what we in gemological terms call trichroism. This basically means that when light hits the gemstone, it reflects in 3 different planes, which again means that the gemstone actually has 3 colours, blue, violet and burgundy.
The effect is that Tanzanite will look different viewed in different lights, and from different angles, when viewed in white natural light it will look bluer, and in incandescent light, it will look more violet.
In conclusion, what this all means?
The value of tanzanite is like with all coloured gemstones, linked mainly to the colour. The deepest most vivid colours are also the rarest, and therefore the most valuable.
And always keep in mind “…if the price is too good, then what is wrong?”
I am buying a selection of Tanzanites in the best colour, and will set them in different rings. And yes, I will of course post the stones and the rings.
I can’t wait to show you what beauties I have found.