Tanzanite is a unique gemstone discovered as recently as 1967 that is found in only one place in the world - the small mining town of Arutia situated at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

This vibrant gemstone is 1000 times more rare than diamond and displays exquisite hues of vibrant blue. With a limited supply of gemstones, likely to last just a single generation, Tanzanite has captured the imagination of the world and earned its rightful place next to diamonds as a must-have gemstone.

Mined in a tiny 5 x 1-mile area in Arutia, Tanzanite is trichoric. This means it has three axis of colour and displays shades of colour when seen from different angles - shades of blue, violet and bronze are dominant in most stones. It is, however, the vibrant and intense blue tones for which the stone is best known for and sought after.

Tanzanite crystals were formed in the Great Rift Valley when massive tectonic plates shifted and magma, forced to the earths surface, allowed elements to bond and form minerals such as Zoisite and Vanadium. Although these minerals can be found all over the globe, something unique took place in Tanzania when Vanadium bonded with Zoisite. As it was brought to the surface it was heated at the same time as crystallisation took place this heating is what causes Zoisite to turn blue. Lots of natural Tanzanite crystals are already blue when they are found as heating took place years ago; but some are naturally brown and heat treated to fix the colour.

African culture sees Tanzanite as a gift from the gods - the legend goes that Tanzanite crystals were discovered after lightning struck the plains and fire swept through the brush. Local Maasai herdsmen discovered striking blue gemstones sparkling in the ashes once the flames had died down. These blue Zoisite gemstones, originally brown in colour, had been heated to a shimmering new shade by the intensity of the fire.

The actual discovery of Tanzanite remains something of a mystery - it is not known for certain who found the first crystal, but the most widely accredited story suggests that in July of 1967, Ali Juuyawatu, a local Masai herdsman, found a piece of blue-violet crystal near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Fascinated by its intense colour, he shared his find with Manuel D'Souza, a tailor by profession and prospector by passion, who was looking for rubies in the region. D'Souza had no idea hed stumbled upon an entirely new specimen, he believed the find to be a vibrant sapphire however, gemmological tests revealed that the crystal had a composition more complex than sapphire, and that its colour was more intriguing, more alluring, and more exotic than any other gemstone.

Word about the remarkable new discovery soon reached celebrated New York jewellers, Tiffany & Co. Awed by the stone's exquisite beauty they renamed Zoisite 'Tanzanite' after its country of origin, and launched it at Tiffany's in October 1968, remarking that it was undoubtedly 'the most beautiful blue stone discovered in over 2 000 years.

Tiffany's initiated the first tanzanite advertising campaign, declaring that Tanzanite could be found in only two places on earth - Tanzania and Tiffany's. Interestingly, there are many more Tanzanite consumers in the US than anywhere else in the world - up to 70% of global consumers.

----------------------------

 

DIAMONDS


Diamonds are found in many parts of the world, but South Africa has produced some of the largest, best quality, and most famous diamonds in the world such as The Cullinan, Eureka, Star of South Africa, Niarchos, Taylor-Burton, Tiffany and De Beers Millenium Star to name but a few. These diamonds are now displayed in magnificent settings such as the Thai and British Crown Jewels, and the private collections of film stars and business magnates.

Diamonds have been celebrated and revered since antiquity - they are the hardest of all gemstones and the name comes from the Latin word 'adamas' meaning invincible. In Ancient Times it was believed that diamonds might be splinters of stars fallen to earth, tears of the gods, or perhaps crystallized lightening.

The birthstone for April, diamonds is said to encourage self-confidence and symbolise wisdom, enlightenment and purity. It provides protection, preserves peace and gives power, wealth and happiness to the wearer.

Diamonds are one of the most valuable and fascinating natural products found on Earth.

South Africa contact:  Jewel of Africa
Email: info@jewelafrica.co.za