Tanzanite Grading Factors

Posted on March 14th, 2012 in Blog by || No Comment

There is one gemstone that has become overwhelmingly popular in the last couple of years, and that is the tanzanite gem. It was first discovered in 1967 in the country of Tanzania, but it was not called “tanzanite” until later; previously, it was more commonly known as “blue zoisite.” This rare gem can only be found in the country of Tanzania (Africa), and this may affect how long it will be around because it is only processed from one country. The fact that this particular stone may not be around much longer has made it twice as popular, and many people have tried to purchase at least one piece of tanzanite jewelry. When it comes to grading the quality of the tanzanite gemstone, many people trust the process that is facilitated by the Gemological Institute of America, and their grading system is the most popular. Surprisingly, the tanzanite gem is graded by color more than any other standard, which is due to the various colors it holds, as the natural stone can come in any color from brown and khaki to blue or violet. The brown-colored gem is usually treated with heat so that it will become the blue-violet color that everyone covets so much.


The color-grading system used by the Gemological Institute of America might sound foreign and can often use such terms as “AAA tanzanite” and other high-tech phrases. However, the concept is actually quite simple. This precious gemstone is one of the most vivacious gems in the world, and it has an array of vibrant colors from light to dark, blue to grey; this is what makes it so popular. The many different shades are also what makes the gemstone so easy to grade, even though there are a few factors that affect the grading of tanzanite. The first thing that is factored in is the hue (or color) of the tanzanite, and the hue is just the basic color of the gem, which is violet-blue or blue-violet. Then comes the grading of the tone or saturation, which basically means that the stone is graded on the strength of its hue on a scale of 0 to 6. If the gem is 0, this means the gem is colorless or white; 1 signifies extremely light; 2 signifies very light; 3 is light; 4 signifies medium light; 5 equals medium; and 6 is medium dark to deep dark. The tanzanite gems can also have various tinges to them on top of the violet-blue or blue-violet, and these include red, brown, blue, green, and grey. A good example of the grading system is VB6, which means a strong, vivid violet-blue that is of the deepest color.


All gemstones are also graded on what is called the 4 C’s: color, clarity, cut, and carat. The color of the tanzanite stone affects the cost of the gem, and the darker the color, the costlier the price. The clarity of the tanzanite also affects the price, because the clearer the gem, the more valuable it is. Next, there is the cut of the gem, as the stone can be cut into any shape or size, and if the stone is larger, it will cost more than if it is smaller. Lastly, the number of carats in the tanzanite affects the value, which ranges from 1 to 10 carats, and anything 1 carat (or less) will cost $300, while if the gem is 5 carats, it will price from $500 to $800; a 159.41-carat tanzanite gem will cost $127,525.00 (and anything larger than this will be quite expensive). The price for the rare and beautiful stone called “tanzanite” will vary according to size, carat, cut, color, and clarity.

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