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Tanzanite is a blue, violent, purple variety of the mineral zoisite. Tanzanite gems are fairly new to the coloured stone galaxy. One of the most known stories about the mining boom of the gemstone was when a Masai tribesman, in 1967, came across highly transparent blue crystals in Merelani, which is in the northern area of Tanzania and where the gem is still most commonly mined. This is also how the gem received its name. The tribesman warned a local fortune hunter, named Manuel D’Souza, which resulted in him registering four mining claims. Shortly later around 90 more claims came about within a 20 mile radius of the Merelani area. When tanzanite gems were first discovered no one realised what these crystals were or how much they may be worth, however everyone thought to claim all the profits that the gems may make. Tanzanite gems eventually become very well known so much so that it would at times be up against the top 3 gems in popularity.
The famous jewellery company, Tiffany & Co, were first to recognise the gems beauty in becoming an international selling gemstone and are now its main distributor. It was the company Tiffany & Co that actually named the gem after the country it was founded in, creating a big publicity campaign in 1968. The tanzanite gems became very popular very quickly amongst the big professional jewellery designers and other gem professionals whilst also being very popular with many customers.
Tanzanite gems appearance is mainly influenced by its pleochroism, which essentially means that tanzanite gems have the ability to change different colours when it’s viewed from different directions. The gemstone can be of a violet-blue or sometimes purple colour, which can be seen similar to the sapphire gems colour. Both of the tanzanite gems colours are quite visible in a fashioned stone when it is gently rocked and slanted. Tanzanite is the birthstone for December along with the gems zircon, turquoise and blue topaz. It is also used as a 24th anniversary gift.
When calculating the price of tanzanite gems there several factors which are taken into consideration such as the current price at recent trade shows, other website prices and also faceted rough pricing in Tanzania. The price of a 3 to 5 carat size tanzanite gem has cost between $550 and $700 per gem, with some prices reaching a high of $850 per carat. Some tanzanite gems that are rich in colour in large metropolitan areas have been sold as high as $1000 per carat. In the late 90s price values for the tanzanite gems cost as low as $200 per carat. However, by the early 2000’s the prices quickly rose between the values $600 and $800 per carat.
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