Say 'I do' to tantalising Tanzanite

Say ‘I do’ to tantalising Tanzanite

Those wanting to bring a little colour to their life are skipping the traditional diamond in favour of a unique stone to centre their engagement ring. With so many stones to choose from, one stands above the rest.

Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral zoisite and varies in hues from blue, to violet, or purple. According to Shimansky, this gemstone is a ‘geological phenomenon’, making it 1000 times more valuable than a diamond.

One of the world’s rarest gemstones comes from a 4km strip of land at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is estimated to have been created more than 550 million years ago when Mount Kilimanjaro was first formed. However, it was only discovered in 1967 by a prospector named Manuel d’Souza and a Maasai tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu whilst hunting for sapphire.

Tanzanite has only ever been found in Tanzania.  The gem is believed to have been created in a unique process called regional metamorphism, in which tectonic plates collide with one another and the igneous rocks morph into one another through extreme pressure. These rocks reach near melting-point and result in beautiful crystal structures. As tectonic plates contain a variety of different minerals, the crystal structures will vary in appearance. This particular mix has never been discovered anywhere else in the world.

Scientists believe the chances of these conditions being replicated to produce another batch of tanzanite is about one in a million. Once the mines have been emptied, there will be no more tanzanite unless a new source is found.  It is predicted that within 10-15 years, gem-quality tanzanite stones will no longer exist. As such, as the years progress, this stone will continue to become more and more valuable.

Tanzanite rose in popularity when Tiffany & Co. founder Louis Comfort Tiffany’s great grandson, Henry Platt, fell in love with the precious gem. Platt renamed the stone ‘tanzanite’ after its country of origin, and considered it to be the most important gemstone discovery in over 2 000 years. Tanzanite quickly became one of the most coveted gems in the world.

Tanzanite is the official birthstone of December, and is considered to symbolise good luck and prosperity, typically associated with celebrations of new life and new beginnings. This stone is particularly meaningful for the Maasai, who believe the colour blue is sacred and spiritual. The Maasai even have a tradition in which they gift new mothers a tanzanite as an offering of health, positivity and prosperity for the child.

Being extremely valuable and rare, tanzanite jewellery is in high demand. As such, they are considered investment pieces. Celebrities like Kate Middleton, Beyonce and and Cate Blanchett have all turned heads in this gorgeous gem.

Feature image: Instagram / @patonsplacejewellers_

Article written by