What is Tanzanite?

engraved tanzanite spray pendant

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa lies a gemstone of extraordinary beauty and rarity—tanzanite. This enchanting violet-blue gem has captivated the hearts of jewellery enthusiasts worldwide, but its journey from discovery to adorning necklaces and rings is a fascinating tale that unfolds over decades.

The Tanzanite stone has a fascinating history and is now used in jewellery. One of the critical tanzanite benefits is that it is believed to provide mental peace and stability to the person wearing it. Learn more about the history of tanzanite and how the tanzanite stone is used in jewellery today.

What is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite, a mesmerizing gemstone, is a unique and rare variety of the mineral zoisite. The gem’s initial mistaken identity as sapphire began its intriguing journey. Its scarcity, combined with its brilliant play of colour, has elevated tanzanite to a status of luxury and uniqueness, making it a highly sought-after gemstone in the jewellery world.

As Toronto’s best jewellery store representing 100+ local designers, we take pride in offering jewellery with unique gemstones. You can find a range of tanzanite jewellery at Made You Look, allowing you to explore the beauty and benefits of this unique stone.

Discovery and Origin

Tanzanite’s tale began in 1967 when a Masai tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu stumbled upon shimmering blue crystals in Merelani Hill. Initially thought to be sapphires, the gemstones were later identified as a new and unique variety of the mineral zoisite. The name “tanzanite” pays homage to its birthplace, Tanzania. This serendipitous discovery marked the beginning of tanzanite’s journey from a hidden treasure to a coveted gemstone in the jewellery world.

Formation and Rarity

Tanzanite’s captivating colour palette, ranging from deep royal blues to vibrant violets, results from the presence of vanadium, chromium, and iron in its crystal structure. However, what makes tanzanite exceptionally rare is its geologically restricted origin. The gem is found in a small mining area near Mount Kilimanjaro, making it a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Geologists estimate that the likelihood of discovering new tanzanite deposits elsewhere is extremely low, adding to its allure and exclusivity.

Colour Variations and Grading

One of the most intriguing aspects of the tanzanite gemstone is its ability to display different colours when viewed from various angles—a phenomenon known as pleochroism. Gemologists use a grading system to classify tanzanite based on hue, saturation, and clarity. The most coveted tanzanite shades fall within the range of deep blue to violet blue, with a medium to dark tone. The play of colour in tanzanite adds depth and complexity, making each gem a unique work of nature’s art.

Journey from Mine to Market

Once extracted from the mines, rough tanzanite undergoes a meticulous journey from rough crystal to a dazzling gem. Skilled lapidaries and gem cutters transform the raw material into mesmerizing facets that maximize its brilliance. The cutting process aims to showcase tanzanite’s pleochroism, emphasizing its unique colour variations. After cutting, the gems are polished to perfection before making their way to the global market to be sold as tanzanite jewellery.

Tanzanite in Jewellery Design

Tanzanite’s striking hue and rarity make it a favourite among jewellery designers seeking to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Versatility of Tanzanite in Design

Tanzanite’s versatility in jewellery design stems from its captivating colour range, which seamlessly complements various metal settings and styles. Designers often experiment with cuts and settings to reveal the gem’s inherent beauty. Whether set in classic white gold, contemporary platinum, or vintage-inspired yellow gold, tanzanite jewellery has many design possibilities.

Popular Tanzanite Cuts

Tanzanite’s allure is accentuated by the variety of cuts it can undergo, each highlighting different facets of its colour and brilliance. The classic round brilliant cut emphasizes its sparkle, while oval and cushion cuts showcase the gem’s pleochroism, displaying various colours from different angles. With its clean lines, the emerald cut adds a touch of sophistication to tanzanite jewellery. Designers often choose amounts that enhance the gem’s natural beauty and align with the wearer’s personal style.

Many people also choose tanzanite as the center stone for their engagement ring or as a gift for those with a tanzanite birthstone. Made You Look offers a beautiful tanzanite engagement ring with 18k yellow and white gold 1.54ct and colourless diamond accents.

Tanzanite in Contemporary Design

In contemporary jewellery design, tanzanite gemstone has found a special place. Its vibrant blue-violet tones can be incorporated into minimalist pieces, adding colour to sleek and modern designs. Tanzanite’s rarity and uniqueness make it an appealing choice for those seeking jewellery that reflects current trends and individuality.

Vintage-Inspired Tanzanite Jewellery

Tanzanite’s timeless appeal also makes it a favourite for vintage-inspired jewellery. Whether featured in intricate Art Deco settings or paired with other gemstones in Victorian-style designs, tanzanite seamlessly bridges the gap between the past and the present. Vintage-inspired tanzanite jewellery often evokes a sense of nostalgia while maintaining a contemporary edge.

Tanzanite Necklaces, Earrings, and Rings

Tanzanite’s popularity extends across various types of tanzanite jewellery.

  • Necklaces: When featured in necklaces, a tanzanite pendant adds a touch of elegance to any ensemble, with the gemstone’s vibrant colour drawing attention to the wearer’s neckline.
  • Tanzanite Earrings: Whether studs, hoops, or dangles, tanzanite earrings provide a sophisticated and eye-catching accessory.
  • Tanzanite Rings: Perhaps the most popular setting for tanzanite, tanzanite rings allow the gem to take center stage, often surrounded by diamonds or complemented by intricate metalwork. Some people purchase a tanzanite engagement ring to express their unique love for their partner.

Custom Tanzanite Jewellery

Given its unique characteristics and limited geographical origin, tanzanite gemstone has become a gem of choice for custom-designed jewellery. Many individuals opt for bespoke pieces, collaborating with designers to create jewellery that tells a personal story. Whether it’s a tanzanite birthstone engagement ring or a custom necklace, creating a one-of-a-kind piece often involves selecting the perfect tanzanite, choosing a unique setting, and incorporating personal touches to make the jewellery truly special.

You can also choose to repurpose old jewellery by adding a tanzanite stone to it. Whether you have a family heirloom or an old piece of jewellery you want to spruce up, repurposing jewellery with the help of our designers at Made You Look can give life back to your old pieces.

Tanzanite’s Popularity in the Market

Over the years, tanzanite stone has gained popularity in the gemstone market, becoming a sought-after choice for those seeking a distinctive and meaningful gem. Its scarcity and mesmerizing colour have positioned tanzanite as a symbol of sophistication and luxury. Jewellery featuring tanzanite is often associated with uniqueness and individuality, making it a preferred gem for those who wish to stand out. Many people also believe that tanzanite benefits can be achieved by incorporating it into their jewellery.

Caring for Tanzanite Jewellery

Like any precious gem, tanzanite requires proper care to maintain its brilliance and beauty over time. Avoid exposing tanzanite to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, or prolonged sunlight to preserve its lustre. Regular cleaning with a mild solution of soap and water and gentle brushing helps keep tanzanite jewellery looking its best. Storing tanzanite separately from other gemstones prevents scratches and abrasions, ensuring a lasting legacy of beauty.


Tanzanite is a testament to nature’s artistry and the allure of the extraordinary. From its accidental discovery in the Tanzanian hills to gracing the necks and fingers of jewellery enthusiasts, tanzanite’s journey is one of rarity, beauty, and sophistication. As this remarkable gem continues to captivate hearts and adorn jewellery boxes worldwide, its legacy as a symbol of uniqueness and elegance remains timeless.

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