How is Tanzanite Processed?

Posted on February 7th, 2012 in Blog by || No Comment

The life of a Tanzanite all begins as a bluish burgundy crystal. Its true colors are not fully revealed until it is heated to allow the vibrant colors of blue, lilac and violet to shine through. All Tanzanite has been heated to some extent, so this will not decrease its value. It is simply what must occur to reveal its most beauteous form.

Heating of various gemstones actually goes back to centuries ago. It is also considered a natural type of treatment because it is basically continuing the process that would have occurred underneath the earth’s surface anyway. When gemstones are heated using extremely hot temperatures, including Tanzanite, color is enhanced and improved to either lighter tones, darker tones, more vibrant tones, or an entirely different color altogether. Without heat treatment, we would not get to enjoy Tanzanite to its fullest, along with the many other gemstones that are heat treated as well.

When treated under extreme temperatures, this is a permanent process and cannot be changed. If you were to take a Tanzanite in its natural form coming out of the ground, it is brown in color. As it is heated however, the process works to rearranges the atoms found within it, creating the color change. Specifically, the chemical vanadium found in Tanzanite is the color causing element.

During the process of heat treatment, the Tanzanite must endure temperatures between 380°C to 420°C. It should be done at a heating rate of 1°C per minute for two hours. Afterwards, it should be cooled at the rate of 1°C per minute as well. While some gemstones require certain levels of oxygen to be present within the furnace during the heating process, that is not the case for Tanzanite. It is brought extremely close to the point of melting it. This is what allows the crystals within to turn color.

As for devices used to turn the Tanzanite into its attractive color, the raw, uncut form is placed into a furnace or oven. Although it may sound very simple, as you can see, it must be calculated and performed correctly. This is because it is possible to over treat the Tanzanite causing it to melt and overcook. In this case, this gemstone comes completely useless and worthless.

Being that this gemstone is so rare, this process is completed very carefully so that its admirers are able to enjoy its vibrant and attractive colors.

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