Tanzanite

Around the year 1805 the mineral Zoisite was found in the Austrian area by a well known Baron. The mineral was later named for this Baron because he was the one who discovered it.The mineral is usually brown and it will often be almost completely opaque.

The Tanzanite version of Zoisite was discovered in Tanzania, Africa in the late 1960s. It was originally thought to be comprised of sapphire crystals, but this was later determined not to be the case.

The name tanzanite came from Tiffany because they were the first ones to have exclusive rights to the mineral, although they no longer have sole ownership of the stone. Tanazite is a very pretty blue violet mineral stone which is brilliant in color and highly sought after and desired.

Tanzanite is considered to be a variety of zoisite and it comes in natural shades of blue, pink, yellow, green, brown, and khaki. Even though it is beautiful in its natural state it is usually heat treated to produce the highly desired shades of sapphire blue, amethyst, and blue violet. The world’s main source for the stone is in Tanzania.

Discovered in the Meralani Hills of Northern Tanzania in 1967, this popular gemstone is quite strong in color. When cut and polished it is a very popular and beautiful stone. In its rough state it appears to have a reddish brown color but once heated to 600 degrees Celsius the heat brings out the beautiful violet color to the stone.

In June of 2003 the local Tanzania government produced legislation that banned the export of the unprocessed stone to India. The reason for the ban was an attempt to encourage development of processing facilities locally. It was the thought of the government that this would spur the local economy by reaping the rewards of the profit made off the popular stone. The legislation was implemented over the next two years but eventually the ban only applied to stones that were over 0.5 grams.

For Jaipur, the city where the stones are exported, the situation is serious. One third of the annual gem exports are made up of tanzanite. There are those that fear this particular ban will spur other bans on other raw gem material which is also found in the country. The country also boasts the production of tsavorite, diamond, and ruby.

In April of 2005, TanzaniteOne Ltd. made a public announcement that they were taking control of the portion of tanzanite deposit which is known as C-Block. Throughout the next year the company established control over the tanzanite market. The made restrictions as to who they would allow to distribute the stone. They only allowed a few distributors access to the stone and these distributors were referred to as sight holders. The company also increased the control of all recently mined tanzanite by purchasing a big portion of the stone the independent miners produced. This is the first known time in history that any precious stone has been placed under this kind of control.

Tanzanite prices have steadily continued to rise on the open market for the last several years. The company has got a firm hold on the control they have on the market. In August of 2005 the largest crystal was found within the block the company owned, weighing in at 16,839 carats. This was a huge feather in the cap of TanzaniteOne Ltd.

Tanazite mining provides the Tanzanian government approximately 20 million US dollars each year. This is a tremendous boost to the local economy and there seems to be no end in sight since the stone is gaining in popularity.

Many feel the tanzanite stone will soon be equal in value to the current stone the diamond. There are some that believe the value and popularity may even surpass the diamond. Currently there is limited availability of the stone because of the controls placed on it by TanzaniteOne and the government. This limited availability makes the gemstone more precious and more valuable.

Copyright 2008 Paraiba International

Related Links:

Tanzanite & Gemstones Facts
Grading & Quality
How Rare is Tanzanite?
How is Tanzanite Processed?
Tanzanite Care and Storage

 

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