Tanzanite: A Rare Blue-Violet Gemstone You Should Know

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Are you curious about the gemstone tanzanite? If you’ve heard of Tanzania, you might wonder why they sound the same. Well, that’s because this beautiful blue stone is found only in Tanzania, East Africa. 

In the world of blue gems, tanzanite is the second most popular after sapphire. This guide shares all you need to know about this stone, including types, uses, and care tips. Let’s dive in.

What is tanzanite? 

Tanzanite is a semi-precious stone obtained from zoisite minerals and is trichroic (appears in different colors when viewed from different angles). Manuel de Souza discovered tanzanite in July 1967 in Tanzania; hence its name by Tiffany & Co. 

Tanzanite comes in shades of blue, burgundy, and violet, depending on the formation of the crystal. It appears blue under fluorescent light and violet under incandescent light.

Tanzanite exists 1000 meters underground. It undergoes heat treatment to expose its beautiful colors. Heat treatment sometimes occurs naturally from the earth’s crust or wildfires. However, the stones can be heat-treated artificially in a furnace for commercial purposes and bulk production.

💡 Did you know? The scientific name for tanzanite is blue-violet zoisite.

Where can you find tanzanite?

You can find tanzanite in Tanzania, in the Manyara region near the Mererani Hills, which is also near the famous mount Kilimanjaro.

What color is tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a mix of blue and violet. Tanzanite can either come off as more blue than violet or more violet than blue.

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Is blue or purple tanzanite worth more?

Tanzanite with a rich blue tint is worth more than that with a rich purple shade. Predominantly, blue tanzanite is rarer, so it has a higher market value. Also, jewelers find tanzanite with a naturally occurring blue more desirable than those with artificial heat treatment.

Is tanzanite really valuable? 

Tanzanite is mined in only one particular region, so its rarity makes it valuable. However, it’s not the most valuable among gemstones — the highest grade of tanzanite costs between $400 and $700 per carat.

Why is tanzanite so special?

Tanzanite is one of a kind. It is trichroic, meaning it appears in three different colors when viewed from three different angles. And when heated, it becomes dichroic (emits a beautiful bluish-violet or violetish-blue color).

Is tanzanite rarer than diamonds?

Tanzanite is 1000 times rarer than diamonds; however, diamonds cost a lot more than tanzanite at about $7,000 per carat.

With tanzanite, you can have your cake and eat it. You’ll get a rare beautiful blue gemstone at an affordable price.

What is the hardness of tanzanite?

It ranks at 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Unlike diamond and sapphire, tanzanite scratches over time, especially with daily wear.

Is tanzanite a precious stone?

Tanzanite is a semi-precious stone. Only four gemstones (ruby, emerald, sapphire, and diamond) are known to be precious stones. 

What does tanzanite symbolize?

This violet-blue beauty is a December birthstone. It’s also known to symbolize healing and love. Tanzanite also represents the 24th wedding anniversary. 

How to tell if tanzanite is real 

Imitations of precious and semi-precious stones exist in the market, so it’s essential to know the difference between real and fake. You can tell if tanzanite is genuine by using a jeweler’s loupe. 

Using a jeweler’s loupe involves examining a cut stone to magnify small details on the stone. The magnification helps a gemologist see the inclusions within the stone. If it has no inclusions, it may not be genuine tanzanite but glass or another imitation material. 

💡 Note: The more visible the inclusions in a tanzanite stone are, the less valuable it is.

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What is the grading scale for tanzanite?

Unfortunately, there’s no industry standard grading scale for tanzanite. However, jewelers follow the “A” system, which grades tanzanite according to the color intensity, whether blue or violet. “A” is pale, “AA” is moderate, “AAA” is intense, and “AAAA” is vivid. 

Types of tanzanite

Besides natural tanzanite, this gem comes in other types which exist on the market. These are the different types of tanzanite to help you make a more informed buying decision.


Natural tanzanite is rough when unearthed. It comes in shades of blue and violet, and sometimes it has a brownish overtone that hides its blue-violet beauty.

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It’s still impossible to make tanzanite in a laboratory synthetically. So, it’s safe to say synthetic tanzanite doesn’t exist. 


Heat-treated tanzanite is a bluish-violet gemstone. Heat treatment removes the brown color that covers the stone when unearthed to reveal its beauty. Without heat treatment, tanzanite remains in its natural state and is used only for decoration.


In the absence of synthetic tanzanite, there exists imitation tanzanite. Cubic Zirconia, synthetic spinel, and colored glass are some materials used for imitation tanzanite. 


Cobalt coating improves the color and appearance of natural tanzanite by giving it a deeper blue hue, making it more appealing to the eye. 

Tanzanite coating is not permanent. Unfortunately, jewelers don’t disclose to buyers that the stone is enhanced; instead, they’ll sell it to you at a high price because of its deep hue. 

Using and caring for tanzanite

Your valuable tanzanite gems need proper care so they can last long.

What is tanzanite used for?

Tanzanite is used to make jewelry like engagement rings, pendants, and earrings. 

How do you clean tanzanite?

To clean tanzanite, soak it in warm soapy water for about 20 minutes. Then take a clean, soft cloth and gently wipe the soapy water off the piece of jewelry until it’s dry.

Can tanzanite be worn every day?

You can wear your tanzanite jewelry daily but avoid wearing it when doing manual work; otherwise, it will scratch.

What can damage tanzanite?

Exposure to extreme sunlight can make tanzanite fade and look dull. Also, contact with hard surfaces can damage it.

Does tanzanite crack easily?

Tanzanite ranks at 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so it’s not the hardest gemstone and can scratch easily. Also, it’s prone to chipping when it comes in contact with hard surfaces.

Can you shower with tanzanite?

No. We would advise you to take off your tanzanite jewelry before showering. Continuous exposure to water will make it dull faster. 

A stunning blue gem

Tanzanite is the gem for you if you fancy blue gemstones. Maybe you love sapphire but can’t afford it, or the combination of blue and violet mesmerizes you. If you take good care of it, your tanzanite gem will last a long time. 

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