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Another December birthstone is tanzanite. Most famous for its purple and blue undertones that can rival the more costly sapphires, tanzanite is named to honor its place of origin, Tanzania. This gemstone can show different colors when viewed from different angles and is often described as ‘velvety’ due to the deep shades of blue, purple, and violet. Tanzanite is also the gem representing the 24th wedding anniversary.
Tanzanite was discovered fairly recently, in 1967 and today it is still mined in only one place in the world: a few square miles in Tanzania near Mount Kilimanjaro. Tiffany and Co. was the first company to recognize the potential in this gorgeous gemstone, which has high clarity, vivid colors, and can be cut into large gemstones. Experts have stated that the supply of tanzanite is dwindling, with the possibility of mines depleting in as little as 30 years, meaning that prices will likely rise and that this current generation could be the last to buy brand new tanzanite stones.
Although the largest tanzanite stone ever found weighed in at over a whopping 713 carats, the most famous piece of tanzanite can be found in the Kilimanjaro Tiara. This stunning tiara features a 242 carat faceted tanzanite, surrounded by 803 green tsavorite garnets (the green stones) and 913 diamonds.
It is believed that tanzanite enhances intuition and positive perception. Some say that this stone will unify the heart and mind, helping to create a balanced life.
Tanzanite is resistant to light and common chemicals, although it can be sensitive to sudden changes in temperature or high heat. Tanzanite is vulnerable to scratches from daily wear and abrasion, meaning that it is best suited to earrings or pendants, although a protective mounting will make it the perfect special occasion piece. To care for your tanzanite jewelry, wash it in warm and soapy water.