One of the most extraordinary stones – in my humble opinion, naturally – is the Tanzanite. All stones come in a variety of colours, of course, but there’s just something about the range of colours in the Tanzanite that absolutely entrances me. The mauve of a Tanzanite is incredibly difficult to photograph and get accurate; it’s a bit like trying to paint or photograph Jacaranda blossom – you can see it’s mauve, but it’s never quite the right mauve, somehow. A bit too pink, a bit too blue, just not quite right. And then you see the stone in real life – or the Jacaranda flower – and you just relax into the colour.
But if you found this chunk of brown rock on the left, how would you know that it was just waiting to become the magnificent piece on the right? A fortuitous discovery for all of us!
Tanzanite is actually zoisite, but Tiffany’s decided that calling it Tanzanite – in a nod to Tanzania which is the only place where it’s mined – would make it sound more romantic and exotic, and thus appeal to buyers. Good call. It was only discovered in the 60s, but has raced up the popularity ladder and is purchased more often than sapphires now, apparently. And whether it’s a cabochon or a facet cut stone, there is bound to be the perfect Tanzanite for anyone who simply has to have one. And as an aside, they look amazing in 22ct gold…
And a little known factoid… the American Gem Trade Association chose Tanzanite as the December birth stone in 2002. This is the first change to their birthstone list since 1912. Great news for all the magpies born in December then – Zircon and Tanzanite, take your pick!