Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tanzanite?
Tanzanite is a crystalline gemstone variety of the mineral zoisite, a relatively abundant mineral. However, the unlikely presence of vanadium in combination with other specific geological conditions produced the rare - and only possible - environment for tanzanite's conception. Its crystal structure is orthorhombic and it is Trichroic, radiating three different colors from three different crystal axes.Today, tanzanite is buried within a labyrinth of complex folds beneath the earth's surface. - back to questions
Where does Tanzanite come from?
Tanzanite is found in only one place in the entire world, Tanzania, in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The area in which it is found covers only 4 square kilometers. - back to questions
How rare is Tanzanite?
Considering that Tanzanite can only be found in a 4 kilometer square area and that the top quality colours and sizes are becoming harder and harder to extract from the ground it is already very rare and becoming rarer. Tanzanite is in fact considered to be a thousand times rarer than Diamonds and it's formation is so rare that it has been described as being ‘more astounding than the stone itself’. Intense geological research has shown Tanzanite's geology to be totally unique and the chance of it occurring outside the current production area is less than a million to one. - back to questions
Is Tanzanite a precious gem?
Without question. A gem must share three important traits in order to be classified as precious: beauty, durability, and of course rarity with rarity having a far greater influence than either beauty or durability. Tanzanite possesses all three - beauty, durability and rarity thus is precious in every sense of the word. - back to questions
What is the origin of Tanzanite?
Tanzanite was discovered in the mid 1960's in the Merelani Hills of East Africa by Massai tribesmen after a bush fire had heated the rough Tanzanite changing it to the stunning intense violitish, blue colour that we know. - back to questions
What is the color range of Tanzanite Gemstones?
Tanzanite gemstones vary in color from rich, velvety blue to an exotic violet. Tanzanite is classified as 'violetish-blue' denoting that the color is predominantly blue over violet or 'bluish-violet' denoting that the color is more violet over blue. Once cut and polished, the stone becomes a kaleidoscope of royal blue, violet, indigo, lilac and periwinkle shades. Different hues appeal to different tastes. The more intense the color, the rarer the tanzanite and hence the more expensive the price per carat. Average vs Top AAA Color
Less than 1% of all tanzanite mined qualifies for HKD Laboratories' top color rating of Intense (note: some laboratories use vivid or exceptional as their top rating). The very best intense/vivid full saturation Tanzanite is found in gemstones of over 5 carats in size according to the GIA.- back to questions
What is D Block Tanzanite?
Traditionally, the very finest Tanzanite originally came from the famed D Block Mines. This is not to say that top grade gemstones don’t come from Blocks A, B and C. Block D simply refers to the area from which material is mined. The Tanzanite mining area has been divided into 4 blocks by the Tanzanian government - Blocks A to D. Traditionally, larger quantities of the best material have been found in block D and today, when the finest 1% is extremely hard to find, Block D still produces some albeit in much smaller quantities and sizes than in the past. Some Tanzanite sellers/dealers will claim "D" block gemstones as a ruse to enhance the gemstone's value.- back to questions
How important is saturation in Tanzanite?
Basically the more saturated the color is in Tanzanite, the more rare and valuable tanzanite gemstones are. Less than 1% of all tanzanite falls into the rare intense AAA color sought by investors and manufactures of the finest tanzanite jewelry. All the tanzanite gemstones offered by TanzaniteAmerica fall into the 1% category of very vivid, extremely intense color. Be careful online because some vendors call their merchandise AAA++, AAAA, vB6++ or even add several plus (+) marks to make them appear more vaulable despite the fact that AAA or vB6 is the top rating - added plus (+) is nothing more than a misleading marketing tool. Always insist on a certification by a third party lab not associated with the dealer and get a guarantee return policy.
Saturation examples - back to questions
Is blue or purple Tanzanite more valuable?
Tanzanite shows different colors in different crystal directions. Because blue is usually located on the short axis of the crystal, it is often more difficult to cut a large blue stone. As a result blue is more rare than purple and commands a premium. The best Tanzanite color is sometimes referred to as "D block" Tanzanite although many deeply saturated best color quality Tanzanite gemstones are found in other blocks as well.- back to questions
What is pleochroism in Tanzanite?
Tanzanite’s appearance is influenced greatly by its pleochroism, which is the ability of a gemstone to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions. Tanzanite can be violetish blue—similar to a sapphire color—or much more purplish. Often, both the violetish blue and purplish colors are readily visible in a fashioned stone when it is gently rocked and tilted.You will see flashes of pink and red in top quality Tanzanite.- back to questions
What is the composition/hardness of Tanzanite?
Tanzanite is a hydrous Calcium-Aluminum Silicate with a hardness of 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale.
This means that Tanzanite's hardness is similar to emerald but a bit less brittle and should be cared for. It is not as hard as diamond which rates as 10 or sapphire which rates as 9 on the Mohs scale but harder than steel which rates about 4-5. Therefore Tanzanite should not be worn during activities that may cause impact. Ideally it is set as a necklace, dress ring, earrings or occasionally a bracelet. - back to questions
How popular is Tanzanite?
In general, blue gemstones are the World's most highly favored because blue is a colour that most can wear and relate to. With tanzanite, this is all the more true because of the stones extraordinary colour - at its best, a rich velvety blue with a hint of violet, reminiscent of rare Kashmir sapphires. Another reason that tanzanite gemstones are so prized is that it is available in large sizes.
Tanzanite is the most exciting gemological find of the 20th century and has enjoyed immense popularity, especially in the States, where approximately 75% of tanzanite is sold. Because of its popularity Tanzanite was added to the December birthstone list in 2004. During 1997 and 1999, faceted tanzanite was second only to sapphire in US sales of colored gemstones. Tanzanite has captured the world’s attention and is indisputably one of the most popular precious gemstones sold today for quality jewelry along with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, & emeralds.
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What is the annual turnover of Tanzanite globally?
It is estimated that globally the wholesale market for polished tanzanite is US$200 - 300 million per annum. - back to questions
How much does Tanzanite cost?
The price of tanzanite in the past has varied considerably due to unstable supply. However, at the moment consumers can expect to pay between US$700 and US$1200/carat for legitimate, certified, top grade “Triple A” Faceted Tanzanite, depending on color, cut, carat and clarity. Generally the larger a stone the higher the cost per carat for the same color, clarity, and cut. Once a faceted tanzanite gemstone is set into jewelry the value increases to between US$1800 and US$2800/carat for top quality gems. . Tanzanite is approximately a third of the price of Sapphire. - back to questions
How do I know that my Tanzanite is genuine?
Whenever you are buying Tanzanite you should make sure that it has been graded by an Independent Gemological Laboratory (not a laboratory controlled by the vendor) and comes with a certificate. In May 2008, the American Gem Trade Association Gemological Testing Center and American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) received a number of faceted tanzanite samples that were determined to be coated - be very careful and demand a certification from an independent lab. - back to questions
Where do you obtain your Tanzanite?
We only supply Tanzanite that has been sourced in an ethical manner - none has been illegally smuggled. This means that our Tanzanite has been extracted according to the polocies of the Tazanian Government with regard to mining and distribution. We purchase tanzanite from registered sightholders who source certified parcels - Tanzanite One, LTD is our only supplier of tanzanite. We are The Tanzanite Authority's only certified North American Dealer. - back to questions
How is Tanzanite graded?
Tanzanite like all other semi precious and precious gemstones is graded in independent gemological grading laboratories. The top grade of Tanzanite is "Intense Violetish Blue", "Triple A", or vB6|6. GIA doesn’t grade tanzanite.- back to questions
Is Tanzanite treated?
All tanzanite is assumed to have been heated to relatively low temperatures. The temperature is usually between 360-390 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. This transforms it from its original dull brown colour to the beautiful and sought after Intense Violetish Blue. Totally accepted in the trade as it is natural, permanent and thus irreversible. - back to questions
What is coated Tanzanite?
In May 2008, two major New York City gem labs - the American Gem Trade Association Gemological Testing Center (AGTA GTC) and American Gemological Laboratories (AGL)- received a number of faceted tanzanite samples that were determined to be coated. The cobalt coating was not immediately obvious but careful examination with a microscope and in immersion provided clear indications of the coating. The majority of the tanzanite sample was comprised of smaller calibrated pale tanzanite where coating was used in order to give them the appearance of fine stones. - back to questions
Does enhancement by heat lessen Tanzanite's value?
All tanzanite is assumed to have been heated to relatively low temperatures. This transforms it from its original dull brown colour to the beautiful and sought after Intense Violetish Blue. Totally accepted in the trade as it is natural, permanent and thus irreversible. - back to questions
Are all your Tanzanite gemstones graded?
Yes, we offer only top quality AAA Tanzanite gemstones that have been graded by the Independent Gemological Laboratory - HKD Laboratories LTD of Canada one of the most respected and recognized labs in the world today. However, over 99% of all Tanzanite in the market today is not graded.- back to questions
Is it a fact that Tanzanite is becoming rarer?
Absolutely, Tanzanite is already one thousand times rarer than Diamond and given that it is only 6.5 on the Mohs scale, many pieces are accidentally destroyed. The fact that it is formed by a unique geological phenomenon, that has less than a million to one chance of being repeated, means that according to geological tests, the world’s supply of Tanzanite will be totally exhausted within the next decade or so. - back to questions
What is the Tanzanian Minerals Act of 2010?
The Tanzanian government banned the export of rough tanzanite larger than 5 cts. effective on October, 2011. The Minerals Act is aimed at putting the exploitation of the gemstones wholly in the hands of indigenous Tanzanians. The Act is quite restrictive because mineral rights and licenses for dealing in tanzanite will be reserved exclusively to Tanzanian citizens. Recent news from Jaipur, India illustrates the significant reduction in Tanzanite availability.
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How do I care for my Tanzanite?
Given Tanzanite has a similar hardness to emeralds , it is recommended that a soft cloth and warm soapy water is used to clean it in a gentle and controlled manner.
Under no circumstances should an ultra-sonic cleaner be used. - back to questions
Is it likely that Tanzanite will ever be discovered in any other part of the world?
Intense geological research has found that there is only one source of tanzanite and it’s geology is totally unique. It is a “geological phenomenon” with the chances of another occurrence outside of the current production area and its immediate vicinity being less than a million to one. - back to questions
Does Tanzanite have any special meaning or properties?
Tanzanite is the first Gemstone to have been added by the American Gem Trade Association to the list of Birthstones since 1912 and is now an official Birthstone for December.
The Massai Tribesmen give it to all their newborn children as the celebration of new life and new beginnings. This growing tradition has its roots is Maasai custom, which upholds the color blue as sacred and spiritual. According to Maasai folklore, only women blessed with fertility, with the miracle of new life, have the honor of wearing blue beads and fabric.
It is also said to have many mystical and healing powers. It uplifts and opens the heart. It is a gemstone that shows us a graceful, gracious way to live.
It is said that people who wear it feel spiritual power pulling them up. It also encourages the wearer to help others because it helps them realize that their own individual truth is connected to eternal truths and the two would sustain each other. They are well grounded in truth, nature, and spirituality.
Also it activates the throat chakra for clear communication of one's highest truth and can also be used to enhance psychic abilities. - back to questions
Are Tanzanite gemstones a good investment?
Top quality Tanzanite gemstones are regarded as being a 'blue-chip' investment due to their rarity and value. We are living during what has become known as the 'tanzanite generation', where it is still possible to be a first time owner of a AAA faceted tanzanite gemstone. Given it’s ever increasing desirability and rareness of the best color, coupled with it’s dwindling supply makes it one of the surest investments of our time or to make top quality jewelry. - back to questions
How do I value tanzanite?
Tanzanite is graded according to the 4 C's, much like diamonds Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat weigh. There is a fifth C which stands for confidence. Being confident that your tanzanite is authentic, that it is of natural origin and that it has been expertly graded is absolutely integral to your purchase. The higher the combination of Colour, Cut, Clarity, Carat weight and Confidence, the more rare and valuable is the gem. - back to questions
Is it safe to buy Tanzanite online?
Shopping for tanzanite online is safe if you use your common sense and always check the terms and conditions of offers. Make certain you have a 100% money back guarantee if for any reason you are not satisfied. Use a solidly reputable and honest online Tanzanite Dealer like Tanzanite America that protects the buyer with guarantees. Buy only gems that are laboratory certified by an independent lab not affiliated with the seller. And as always, if it looks too good to be true it probably is. - back to questions
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Paypal, Credit cards, Bitcoins, Wire or Bank transfers, Direct deposits and Checks once cleared. We are unique in that you can buy Tanzanite with Bitcoin as payment. Please go to our Terms and Conditions page for details. - back to questions
Has an international magazine written about Tanzanite?
There are many articles written by trade organizations or other lesser known publishers but the most prominent international magazine to publish a comprehensive article on tanzanite is Time Magazine. On May 1, 2007 Time published Romancing a New Stone. The original article in Time Magazine was written on January 24, 1969 titled New And Hard To Come By - back to questions