15 Jan 2024

Tanzanite: The Gemstone of Transformation

Tanzanite: The Gemstone of Transformation

Tanzanite, named after its country of origin - Tanzania, is a precious stone that has carved a unique niche in the world of gemstones. When tanzanite was first unearthed and identified as a new gemstone, it was labeled as one of the most important gemstone discoveries in over 2000 years, immediately rising to great popularity.

Origins and Formation of Tanzanite Stones

The tanzanite stone is a member of the zoisite mineral family and is easily recognizable by its striking blue-violet color. The stone owes its unique hue to the presence of vanadium, chromium, and iron impurities, which infuse it with its distinctive and regal shade. Formed over millions of years under intense geological pressure, tanzanite stones emerge from the depths of the earth in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

These remarkable gemstones are found in deposits characterized by their proximity to other minerals like garnets and tourmalines. The complex geological conditions and the rarity of these specific occurrences contribute to the exclusivity and draw of tanzanite stones.

While Tanzania is the primary source of tanzanite, the deposits are mainly concentrated in the Merelani Hills near the city of Arusha. The stone's beauty has sparked interest worldwide, leading to explorations in other regions, albeit with limited success. The geological conditions in the Merelani Hills, coupled with the region's unique mineral composition, create the perfect environment for tanzanite's formation.

Unlike other stones, which have diverse deposits globally, tanzanite remains an exclusive Tanzanian treasure. Its scarcity, combined with the captivating beauty of its hues, contributes significantly to its desirability in the world of gemstone enthusiasts and collectors.

The Significance and Symbolism of Tanzanite Stones

Tanzanite, with its captivating hues and rarity, possesses a rich history full of symbolism and significance. The stone is often associated with its spiritual and metaphysical properties, which have earned it a reputation for being the “stone of transformation.”  Its vibration is believed to promote emotional well-being and inner harmony. The tanzanite stone is ideal for those seeking emotional balance and peace, as it is known to reduce stress, calm overactive minds, and bring about a sense of serenity. 

In the realm of birthstones, tanzanite has found its place among the December gems, providing individuals born in this month with a unique and exquisite option. The stone's association with December makes it an ideal gift, symbolizing love, harmony, and spiritual elevation.

Tanzanite and Diamond Ring

Tanzanite and diamond ring

The tanzanite stone has commonly been confused with blue sapphires due to its strikingly similar color. When the stone was first discovered, the prospector who began mining the stone, believed that he was, in fact, mining blue sapphire. Despite the many similarities, several distinctions can be drawn between the two stones. 

One of the differences that is most easily recognizable to the human eye is the fact that tanzanite is a pleochroic gem, meaning it can display a wide range of hues, ranging from vivid blue to purple and violet. The second visible difference can be found in the stone's clarity. Unlike sapphires, which are often found with inclusions, tanzanite stones are known to be eye-clean, meaning they possess no flaws visible to the naked eye. 

At the mineral level, there are many differences between the two stones, namely that sapphire is a corundum mineral and tanzanite is a zoisite mineral. Sapphire stones are also known to be significantly harder than tanzanite, making them more suitable for everyday wear. While sapphire is rated a 9 on the Mohs scale, tanzanite is rated between 6 and 7. The fact that tanzanite stones are only found in Tanzania makes them significantly rarer than sapphires and one of the most sought after gemstones in the world. 

Our Tanzanite and Diamond ring is breathtakingly regal with a 33.03 carat cabochon cut tanzanite stone as its centerpiece. The incredible size and depth of the stone in this tanzanite ring perfectly showcases the magnificent clarity and color of the stone.

Tanzanite and Gold Ball Necklace

Tanzanite and Gold Ball Necklace

Despite the tanzanite stone's undeniable beauty and rich blue allure, it remains relatively elusive to many. While its long history of limited supply is partly responsible, there are other explanations contributing to its subtle reputation. One such reason includes the fact that the tanzanite stone was not always known by its current name. In fact, we have Tiffany and Co. to thank for its present name. Previously known by the name ‘blue zoisite,’ it was renamed to tanzanite after the place in which it was discovered - Tanzania.

Tanzanite stones make beautiful beads due to their eye-clean clarity. While most other gemstones will contain inclusions, tanzanite stones make beads that appear glassy and flawless. Although we believe in the beauty of nature's imperfections at Tamsen Z, there is something undeniably enchanting about the natural perfection of tanzanite stones. 

Our Tanzanite and Bead Ball Necklace rests elegantly at 24” and displays 150 carats of tanzanite beads. Each tanzanite bead is imperfectly shaped, remaining true to Tamsen Z’s passion for highlighting the natural beauty of gemstones. Separated by rich 18k gold beads and 22k gold spacers, this tanzanite necklace is a true masterpiece.

Black Opal, Tanzanite, and Diamond Earrings

black opal, tanzanite, and diamond earrings

As one of the most naturally beautiful and brilliant stones in the world, it is imperative that the tanzanite stone is cut in a way that maximizes all the beautiful characteristics it possesses. While cabochon cuts are popular for their glassy look that shows off the tanzanite stone's natural beauty, faceted cut stones have the ability to completely transform the stone and enhance its natural beauty.

While this stone can be cut into many different shapes to suit the individual wearer's preferences, some shapes will highlight the stone’s brilliance and pleochroic properties more than others. The pear cut, sometimes called the teardrop cut,” is a popular choice with 71 facets allowing it to reflect light and showcase the impeccable dimension of the tanzanite stone’s color. 

Our Black Opal, Tanzanite, and Diamond Earrings elegantly combine 8.67 carats of pear cut tanzanite gemstones with black opal. The play of color between the two is enchanting, as tanzanite’s pleochroic properties are enhanced by the nebula of blue, aqua, magenta and purple glowing within the black opal. Set in 18k white gold and surrounded by white diamond, these tanzanite earrings skillfully contrast light with dark.


Tanzanite, a gemstone born in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, has quickly become a symbol of rarity and exquisite beauty. Its captivating blue-violet hues, attributed to vanadium, chromium, and iron impurities, distinguish it as a member of the zoisite mineral family. Tanzanite's formation, shaped over millions of years under intense geological pressure, creates a gemstone exclusively found in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania.

This Tanzanian treasure, labeled a transformative stone, holds spiritual and metaphysical significance. Revered as the "stone of transformation," tanzanite resonates with vibrations that promote emotional well-being, inner harmony, and serenity. Its association with December birthstones makes it a unique and cherished gift, symbolizing love, harmony, and spiritual elevation.

The stone's distinction from blue sapphires lies in its pleochroic nature, displaying vivid hues from blue to purple and violet. Tanzanite's eye-clean clarity sets it apart, with no visible flaws to the naked eye. Despite being softer than sapphires on the Mohs scale, tanzanite's exclusivity and allure have made it one of the most sought-after gemstones globally.

At Tamsen Z, there is nothing we appreciate more than an elusive and breathtaking gemstone with a story. The natural beauty and regal coloring of the tanzanite stone makes it irresistible for use in jewelry. Through each of Ann Ziff’s creations for Tamsen Z, she showcases the spectacular beauty of this rare and influential stone. Discover our selection of tanzanite jewelry online today at Tamsen Z. 

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