Tanzanite - a one generation gem stone | First State Auctions

Tanzanite - a one generation gem stone

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The story of Tanzanite gem stones is intriguing, a romantic journey which is playing out right in front of our eyes, right now! It has grown exponentially in popularity because of its stunning blue-purple colour and increasingly understood scarcity.


According to the Tanzanite Foundation, African folk lore from the Maasai communities explains the birth of this stunning gem stone, which they believed would bring the owner a better life. “Magic fire from the sky set the land ablaze and transformed the crystals on the ground into the mystical shimmering blue-violet gems.” In 1967 a Masaai tribesman showed a blue crystal he had found to gem hunter Manual D’Souza. Although he had been searching for rubies he instinctively knew these crystals had value, and one of the stones made its way to New York.

Naming of this new gemstone

The stone was shown to the jewellers of Tiffany’s. The stone was originally called ‘Blue Zoisite’ but the jewellers felt the name sounded too much like ‘suicide’ and did not go down too well with the marketing people. Henry Platt of Tiffany’s started referring to them as Tanzanite Gem Stones and this is how they were thereafter marketed, being named after the country where they were found.


Tanzanite gem stones have only ever been found in Tanzania near the equator on the East coast of Africa. The area within which they are found measures only 1km wide and 6km long. According to gemmologists there is a 1 in a 1,000 chance of being found anywhere else in the world.

Generational Gems

Tanzanite’s are sometimes referred to as ‘Generational Gems’ because they will have been discovered and likely to become extinct in one generation. They are more than 100 times more uncommon than diamonds!

People who purchase stones now and probably for the next decade will be known as ‘original owners’. Many of the gems are then likely to become family heirlooms to be handed down to future generations.


According to Wikipedia the retail pricing of top quality Tanzanite gem stones increased in price by more than 100% from 2000 to early 2007, and then increased by another 40% by mid 2007. The value has kept escalating and if the supply runs out during this decade, prices are likely to soar. The most valuable pieces display an intense blue colour, the deeper the better and have the ability to show purple and a splash of red.

What it says of its wearer

Wearing Tanzanite is said to reflect that the wearer is a mature and self confident person.


Looking after your Tanzanite

Treat your Tanzanite gem stone well. It’s best to clean with warm soapy water. It should not be placed in ultrasonic cleaners or exposed to extreme heat from a jeweller’s torch. It is not recommended to wear when doing manual labour or excessive physical activities.


Click here to view the range of Tanzanite Jewellery scheduled for upcoming auctions.

Posted by Ari Taibel