Tanzanite Dynamite, as we nicknamed it because of the explosive effects that its discovery triggered in the Jewelery market and in the Gemology world, is a transparent blue-violet Zoisite variety.
It was discovered by Man rather recently, although it has been formed several million years ago.
Explosive Precious Stone
It is said that in the glorious gemological year of 1967, during a walk, a Masai shepherd tripped over some crystals with an unusual appearance. Not being an expert gemologist graduated in the Gemological Institute of Genoa, the Masai turned to one of the most famous Gemstones hunters of that time: the Portuguese of India (Goa) Manuel D’Souza. Manuel, everything was, except a naive in the Gemology field, in fact it was at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro looking for Rubies and Sapphires and certainly not for a healthy walk like a Masai.
In a recent interview, the Masai complained he didn’t earn a single quid since the discovery of Tanzanite. Nobody was surprised by the interview, given the ingenuity of the nice Masai.
Although the history of the Dynamite Gemstone starts from a very recent date, it has undoubtedly been a very lively and particular story.
Unlike most of the Gems varieties, which usually take their name from some mineralogist, naturalist or explorer, this marvelous Gemstone had the honor of having been baptized by Tiffany & amp; Co.
The name Tanzanite takes its cue from the only nation in which so far has been found: Tanzania.
The Magic of Tanzanite Dynamite
One of the magic that this elegant Gem shows to the Jewelry world is the strong pleochroism. When you tilt a Tanzanite, you can see the three distinct colors, as long as you look at it along all three of its crystal directions. Tanzanite is a tricroic Gem and often shows high pleochroism.
The Dynamite Gemstone can only be found in one place in the world: in northern Tanzania, in the hills of Merelani, at the foot of Kilimanjaro.
Usually Tanzanite comes to Nature with a color tending to be brown, but with a low heating, of around 550 degrees, you can change the status of valence of the Vanadium components, removing all the unpleasant pleochroihc colors.
Although Tanzanite Dynamite is much desired because of its elegant color, it has a very weak point in its relatively low hardness. The hardness of this wonderful Gemstone measures 6 to 7 in the Mohs Scale and although it has a good stability, it is absolutely not recommended to wash it with very hot water and ultrawawes. In fact, in some cases, the ultrawawe machine could cause fractures in the Gem or extend those already in progress. In addition, the Dynamite Gem has an easy to moderate cleavage.
An inexperienced eye, due to the overlapping colors, could confuse a Tanzanite for a Sapphire or for an Iolite. But Tanzanite has a very typical Refractive Index of 1,685-1,707 and unlike Sapphire which is uniaxial, Tanzanite is biaxial.
Moreover the Specific Gravity of Tanzanite is about 3.35, therefore very different from the Specific Gravity of Corundum, which is around 4 and the Iolite Specific Gravity, which in turn is about 2.61.
The prestigious Gemological Institute of America has classified the Tanzanite as TypeI Gem in the Clarity scale. They belong to this class of purity also:
1) Colorless Zircon
2) Green Tourmaline
because these Gems, on average, appear slightly included in nature.