Gem Class: Tanzanite and Blue Topaz

Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Blog, Gem Class | No Comments

Demand attention at your next holiday party with one (or two) of December’s birthstones, tanzanite and blue topaz. These two gemstones are stylish and stunning, perfect in any piece, created for you or your special someone.

A member of the mineral family zoisite, tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone. In fact, it only became a birthstone 10 years ago. Tanzanite was only named December’s birthstone in 2002. It’s velvety purplish-blue color is unique.  Manuel d’Souza was looking for sapphire in 1967 when he stumbled upon a new gemstone in northeastern Tanzania, East Africa. The natives took him to an area in the region of the Merelani Hills near Mount Kilimanjaro and he found precious blue stones originally believed to be sapphire. When he realized they weren’t, he started mining.

Soon Tanzanite started to become the focus in America and Europe. In 1970, Tiffany and Co. began a marketing campaign to introduce it to the public. Henry Platt of Tiffanys named the stone tanzanite. The secret to tanzanite’s mesmerizing color is trichoism: crystals of tanzanite are three different colors from different directions. This means that blue and purple dance together in the depths of the gem as it moves and catches the light.

This is one of the most successful and exciting discoveries in the field of gemstones in a century. The original stones are over 500 million years old and are the only tanzanite stones that are naturally blue. The Smithsonian Institute has  an impressive tanzanite collection including a 122.7 carat stone.

Topaz, the second and equally impressive December birthstone, actually means “fire” in Sanskrit.  It was given this name because many cultures believed that the sun is responsible for it’s color. Some of the mystical properties that topaz offers are warding off colds, enhancing the breathing process, and help those with insomnia.

The most famous topaz is a colorless topaz that was thought to be a diamond. It is a 1680 carat stone known as the “Braganza Diamond” set in Portuguese Crown Jewels.

Blue topaz, however, is the most common color variety and is also used as December’s second birthstone. Gemvara’s blue topaz has a bright and lively color that looks gorgeous set in every metal. We also offer a second shade of blue topaz, a London Blue Topaz that has a darker more intense shade of blue.

Which stone do you prefer?

 


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