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Tanzanite is a purplish-blue variety of the mineral zoisite. It was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967 and was named after the country. It is a stunning stone which has an unusual effect known as trichroism. This makes it appear alternately blue, purple and burgundy. In its natural state tanzanite is reddish-brown and is heat treated to bring out its violet hues. Because tanzanite is only found in one location and larger stones are relatively hard to come by, this gemstone is expensive and well sought after. It should be treated carefully and kept away from other jewels to avoid scratching the stone. Because of its softness it should never come into contact with acid or be cleaned in an ultrasonic bath.

The World’s Largest Tanzanite

The biggest faceted tanzanite in the world weighs in at a remarkable 737.81 carats. A somewhat smaller tanzanite, though still an impressive 242 carats, is the "Queen of Kilimanjaro". It is set in a tiara surrounded by 913 diamonds and 803 tsavorite garnets. Tanzanite is a relatively soft stone and for this reason it is not usually set in this type of jewelry so the tiara is rare. It is currently on display at the Gallery of Gold and Gems at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. It is part of the private collection of Michael Scott, the first CEO of Apple Computers.

Tanzanite Mythology and Folklore

According to local legend, it was Masai cattle herders that first found this gemstone more than thirty years ago while they were roaming an area that had been burned by blazing fire caused by lightening. It is said that the herders noticed that the heat of the blaze had turned the stones from their normal brownish-red color to deep purple. Tanzanite is said to be a great stone for calming and soothing the verves and eradicating chaos. It is also believed to help focus desires and make them come into fruition. It is recommended as a protective stone and connects and balances the 5th, 6th and 7th chakras. It is also said to be a powerful stone for concentrating psychic abilities and works well for water or moon cleansing rituals.


  • Hardness: 6.5
  • Specific Gravity: 3.10–3.38
  • Refractive index: 1.69–1.70
  • Birthday: December
  • Anniversary: 24th year

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