First found in 1967 in the north of Tanzania, in the african continent, Tanzanite was named after its place of origin. It is the variety between purple and blue of Zoisite, a mineral also found in other hues, coloured by the presence of Vanadium. This stone is only found in the Merelani Hills region, close to Kilimanjaro, and is extremely rare in Nature.
Widely used as an alternative to Sapphire, the Tanzanite has conquered its own place in the jewellery trade when the stone was used by Elizabeth Taylor, enhancing its colour by harmonizing it with the actress’ famous violet eyes.
This stone shows strong pleochroism: the property of exhibiting different colours when observed from different directions. Tanzanite can be easily identified by this characteristic, visible to the naked eye: just turn it around itself and it will be possible to see intense blue, reddish purple, greenish yellow or even brownish red (particularly in larger sized stones). Thus, not only is a good specimen necessary for a high quality gem, but also a very experienced and knowledgeable lapidary, for the crystal should be oriented with the most desirable colour visible through the side exposed in the setting. This optical effect is what gives Tanzanite such a unique and intriguing colour.