Tanzanite is the name given to the blue or purple variety of zoisite found only in Tanzania. Zoisite is a mineral of above average hardness, about 6.5 on the Mohs scale, and appears in a range of colors, such as blue, green, brown, pink, and colorless.
In Tanzania, tanzanite is mined in the Merelani Hills. The rarity and exclusiveness of tanzanite might seem like an exaggeration, but only Tanzania produces blue zoisite of such quality. Now, it must be remembered that any blue or purple colored zoisite could be called tanzanite, although it may never have originated from Tanzania, just as there is no way to know if a crystal originated from somewhere. But blue zoisite with tanzanite’s characteristics has never been found outside Tanzania, and some gemologists say the chances of finding such an occurrence elsewhere, is practically zero.
Being the most beautiful variety of zoisite, tanzanite has found its way into the hearts of many a crystal and gemstone lover. It is now one of the most popular crystals in the world of jewelry, because its fiery blue can surpass even that of sapphires.
At present, the prices of tanzanite can surpass even that of some precious stones. That’s surprising for a gemstone discovered only around 1967. Heat treating tanzanite enhances the classic blue-violet color, and now, much of the tanzanite found is heat treated to turn them into even more stunning gemstones. Tanzanite is sometimes marketed as an exotic variety of sapphire, but the reality is that its popularity is largely the result of an extensive marketing campaign by Tiffany and Co ever since its discovery. The very name “Tanzanite” was coined by Tiffany as well.
There is no practical way to distinguish genuine natural blue tanzanite from heat treated tanzanite, so it is always assumed that all tanzanite is heat treated. In their natural state, tanzanite occurs in shades of brown, blue, purple, and green. One of its qualities is pleochroism, which is the quality of appearing as different colors under different angles and lighting. Tanzanite can appear as golden, violet, or blue, under different angles of viewing. Heat treating tanzanite will destroy this quality, but results in a stable blue color which is equal to, or even surpassing that of sapphires. Due to its fragility (and price), tanzanite shouldn’t be worn during high impact activities, as it fractures easily.
In my opinion, tanzanite still exhibits metaphysical properties because the heat treatment applied (roughly 600 Celsius), is not as extreme as that given to other gemstones. Also, the change in color attracts the corresponding light wave. Tanzanite does best working on the fifth, sixth, and seventh chakras, due to its almost perfect matching color. It helps develop the intuition and the Third Eye, and should be set in gold for best results.
Tanzanite is also good for improving communication, both with this earth plane, and the other worlds. It brings regalness and calmness to life, and works great as a jewelry type of crystal. The main issue about tanzanite is its relatively recent introduction to the crystal world. As such, information about tanzanite is still rather sketchy. It doesn’t help that tanzanite stocks are expected to be depleted in a decade or so.
On the physical side, tanzanite is good for elixirs and helping with insomnia problems. It is useful for strengthening the nervous system as well.
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