A rare gemstone, tanzanite offers unparalleled beauty with its signature deep-blue hues and striking violet shades. Tanzanite has been said to possess symbolic powers that enhance cognition and dissolve stagnancy. Learn more about tanzanite’s origins, wearability and history in our tanzanite guide.
What is tanzanite?
Tanzanite is a recently discovered gemstone that comes in rich blue and lush purple hues. The colour of tanzanite can change in different lighting, making this rare gemstone unique. This gem is found in only one place in the world—Tanzania—making it rarer than a diamond. Tanzanite is a birthstone for the month of December and is traditionally given as a gift on 24th wedding anniversaries.
TANZANITE QUICK GUIDE
- Reddish Purple
- Optimism, Intuition
- 6 to 7
Heated or infused to alter colour and clarity
Special Gemstone Care: Do not use ultrasonic cleaning and sudden temperature changes.
What to Look for in Tanzanite
Tanzanite is adored for its terrific deep hues. These gems show three distinct colors—reddish purple, blue and violet—depending on what type of light they’re in. This optical phenomenon is called pleochroism. There are several aspects to consider when choosing a tanzanite gemstone.
COLOURGemstone colour is often the most important factor in determining a gemstone’s value. Blue tanzanite is rarer and more highly valued than violet or purple tanzanite, but many people prefer stones with lighter violet hues.
CUTThe cut of a gemstone is what gives it symmetry and shows off the stone’s colour and brilliance. Because tanzanite is a pleochroic gem, the cut plays a significant part in which colour takes prominence in the finished stone.
CLARITYGemstone clarity is determined by any inclusions embedded in the gem, such as gas bubbles, fractures or small crystals. Most tanzanite gemstones have inclusions that are only visible with magnification—and any eye-visible inclusions typically cause a drop in price but don’t necessarily detract from the stone’s beauty. Inclusions aren’t always a bad thing! Rarely, tanzanite contains inclusions that create cat’s eye chatoyancy, a phenomenon where light reflects off the inclusions and produces a luminescent beam, similar to that of a cat’s eye.
SIZE (CARAT)While diamonds are sized and valued by carat weight, gemstone size is based on diameter in millimeters. The size of tanzanite influences its color—large pieces of tanzanite have the finest colour, but smaller gems are more abundant.
ENHANCEMENTVirtually all tanzanite on the market has been heat-treated to bring out the coveted blue to violet hues these gems are prized for. Heat treatments are a permanent, undetectable enhancement and don’t harm the gemstone, but rather add to its allure.
Hardness & Wearability
Tanzanite rates a 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes it less durable than harder gemstones like diamonds (10) or sapphires and rubies (9). Tanzanite generally isn’t suitable for intense everyday wear, such as in an engagement ring, unless you choose a protective setting, such as a bezel, channel or pavè setting.
Choosing the Right Tanzanite Jewellery
Violet-blue tanzanite pairs handsomely with cool-toned metals like silver, white gold and platinum.
Famous Tanzania Gemstones
First unearthed in 1967 in the African country of Tanzania, Tanzanite is one of the newest additions to the colourful world of gemstones. Tiffany & Co. quickly recognized its selling potential and became its main distributor, christening the blue-violet jewels as Tanzanite to highlight the stone’s exclusive geographic origins. Tanzanite may not have the ancient history and fabled virtues of other gemstones, but it’s highly prized for its rare beauty.
How to Care for Your Tanzanite Jewellery
- Tanzanite gems are dulled by household dust, but with a simple repolish, they’re easily brought back to a like-new lustre. Store your tanzanite jewels in a protective cloth bag or jewellery box when you’re not wearing them. Check often for loose or damaged stones, and protect your jewellery from harsh blows.
- Learn more about caring for tanzanite jewellery in our gemstone cleaning guide — or let us do the dirty work for you with our complimentary gemstone cleaning and repair on all of the jewellery we sell.
Tanzanite Buying Tips
Now that you’ve learned about this rare gem through our tanzanite gemstone education, it’s time to learn about buying tanzanite. Here are tips for choosing the perfect tanzanite stone:
- 1Focus on the colour that matches your budget. Darker tanzanite stones will have a higher price tag than lighter ones. Both are beautiful for all types of jewelry!
- 2Look for a well-cut gemstone that’s symmetrical and relatively brilliant.
- 3Choose enhanced tanzanite stones to maximise your budget. One-time, safe tanzanite enhancements can improve the colour of the gemstone. These enhancements improve the tanzanite for long-term wear.
It’s also important to consider which metals you'll set the stone in. Tanzanite’s unique blue to purple hues are perfect in silver, platinum or white gold pieces. For even more contrast, select rose or yellow gold settings.
- Tanzanite’s colour works best with silver, platinum and white gold. For a unique and attention-grabbing look, tanzanite is often paired with yellow or rose gold.
- Tanzanite comes in mainly blue and purple shades. It is also a colour-changing stone, with different hues shining through depending on the lighting. The most popular shades of tanzanite are deep blue and soft violet. The cut of your tanzanite will influence how deep its colours are.
- Tanzanite is a rare gemstone that’s only found in one place on earth. Its rarity commands a high price tag, with many tanzanite pieces in the thousands of dollars. Size, cut, clarity and colour will influence its price. More common tanzanite colours, such as soft violets, will cost less than the rarer deep blue coloured tanzanite stones.
- Tanzanite is an incredibly rare gemstone as it is only found in one part of the world. This gem is mined in its namesake country, Tanzania.
- Rarity and pleochroic qualities make tanzanite a truly special gem. This gem was unearthed in 1967, making it a newcomer in the world of jewellery. It's only found in one part of the world, making it incredibly rare. Additionally, tanzanite’s colour-shifting qualities make it a dynamically enchanting gemstone.
- Yes, tanzanite is rarer than diamonds. While diamonds are found throughout the world and can even be created in laboratory settings, tanzanite is found in just one part of the world. Still, tanzanite is priced lower per carat than diamonds are.
- Because tanzanite colour changes depending on the lighting, observing the gemstone’s hues is one of the best ways to determine if it is real. A real tanzanite will have different hues in natural light when compared to its colour in artificial light. A fake gem will not have the spectrum of tanzanite colours this stone is known for.
- Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania. Their name reflects their geographic origin, with a limited supply of the stone available.
Learn More About Gemstones
There’s a galaxy of extraordinary gemstones to discover and admire. Learn more about these phenomenal jewels in our gemstone guide.
Explore Education by Category
- Amethyst Engagement RingsAquamarine Engagement RingsEmerald Engagement RingsMoonstone Engagement RingsMorganite Engagement RingsOpal Engagement RingsPink Sapphire Engagement RingsRuby Engagement RingsSapphire Engagement RingsTanzanite Engagement RingsTopaz Engagement RingsAll Gemstone Engagement Ring Guides
Only at Blue Nile
When it comes to celebrations we strive to make your experience as brilliant as our jewellery with the perfect pieces for every occasion.
Visit a Showroom
Meet our personal jewellers, explore bestselling styles, pick up an online order, arrange to preview something from our online collection and so much more.
Schedule an Appointment
Book a fun and interactive appointment with a diamond expert and get up-close views of diamond and jewellery options from the comfort of your own home.
The highest-quality design at a great price.
Peace of Mind
30-day returns, diamond price-match guarantee and more.
The original online jeweller since 1999.
The perfect pieces for every occasion.