Tanzanite, 50 Years Later


Tanzanite brooch, Tiffany & Co. (Photo: Tanzanite Foundation)

From: The New York Times

By Melanie Abrams

May 10, 2018

When Tiffany & Company introduced tanzanite in 1968, the company was sure the semiprecious stone would be successful. (“Tanzanite is the first transparent deep blue gemstone to be discovered in more than 2,000 years,” a Tiffany vice president told a Times reporter the next year.)

But no one anticipated the creativity that it would still be inspiring.

Named for Tanzania, where the only mine still operates, tanzanite’s allure lies in its colors, including green, red, purple and blue, “depending on which angle you look at it,” said Melvyn Kirtley, Tiffany’s chief gemologist and vice president for global category management including high jewelry.

The new gemstone had an enormous effect on the house’s design style in the ’60s, Mr. Kirtley said, turning it from simple gold jewelry to colorful designs with large stones. Cases in point: Donald Claflin’s ornate 1968 diamond floral brooch with an 84-carat tanzanite and, in 1969, Jean Schlumberger’s fantastical winged-bird pin with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, a cabochon emerald and a large tanzanite as its stomach.

For the stone’s 50th anniversary with Tiffany, Reed Krakoff, the house’s chief artistic officer, has showcased it in two new Paper Flower collections introduced in the United States this month and at Harrods in London on June 21, then across Britain in July. The high jewelry earrings echo the colors of an iris with tanzanites ranging from soft blue to violet and blue sapphires; in fine jewelry, tanzanites accentuate abstract blossom designs.

Debuting at the Cannes Film Festival this week, Chopard’s latest Red Carpet collection includes a multistone choker with six tiers of tanzanite beads and a blue titanium-edged pink ceramic disc with a 12.4-carat pear-shaped aquamarine that “give a modern twist,” Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s artistic director and co-president, said in an email.


The color also is an important element for Alice Cicolini, a jeweler based in London, who said she played “with the idea of tanzanite as a color pop.” She placed tanzanite beads on either side of the orange lacquered sphere in her multistone Candy Kimono Nibble necklace “to bring attention to the center of the necklace.”

She also added a tanzanite briolette to her blue topaz, sapphire and lapis lazuli chandelier earrings. “It adds movement between the flowers,” Ms. Cicolini said, “and that extra layer of articulation, and because the thing that is articulating has such a vibrant color, hopefully it catches the eye more.”

Annoushka Ducas, creative director of her namesake brand, has included tanzanite and diamond earrings and rings in her new Imperial collection, inspired by the Russian kokoshnik headdress. “I use it quite a lot with brown diamonds as I like the not-so-bling look and the softness of the brown and the blue working together,” she said. “If you set tanzanite with brilliant white diamonds, it has a colder more ostentatious effect, whereas with brown it’s more low-key and everyday.”

The Brazilian designer Yael Sonia captured a tanzanite gem in the black rhodium-plated openwork cage of her Perpetual Motion series. “The black rhodium cube makes the tanzanite edgy, and the tanzanite softens the black rhodium,” she said.

More literal uses of the stone’s blue tones have been made by the Canadian jeweler Holly Dyment, who created the iris in her evil eye ringswith tanzanite. And Wendy Yue, a Hong Kong designer, adorned a snake’s head with a triangular tanzanite for her new necklace, which has a matching ring.

Although tanzanites can be worn in everyday jewelry, they are not as hard as diamonds or rubies, so designers use various methods to protect the stones. After Mimi So, a New York jewelry designer, had 120 tanzanite beads threaded individually to create the tassel for a necklace, she strategically placed 18-karat gold flowers accented with diamonds or emeralds at the top of the grouping, helping them to move freely. The Taiwanese designer Anna Hu set a 102.15-carat tanzanite on her multistone pendant brooch with invisible bezel prongs — a secure yet delicate way to set the stone — so “all you can see are the vibrant colors,” she said.

Wallace Chan, a Hong Kong jeweler known for his innovation, creates extra-soft tools for his work with tanzanite. They include a polishing wheel made with leather from a sheep’s belly for the 15.90-carat tanzanite adorning his multistone Bridging Dreams ring, “to buff out the micro scratches on the gemstone to perfect its finish,” he said in an email.

Experts disagree on how soon the world’s supply of tanzanite will be exhausted, with some saying it is almost mined out. But some designers are still discovering the gemstone — “to keep a step ahead,” said Ana Khouri, a New York-based designer who was adding tanzanites to her ear pieces, including a new white-gold-and-diamond ear crawler with pink, green and blue tanzanites.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page S4 in The International New York Times.



We publish courtesy of: Add More Color To Your Life

Exotic velvety blue with a rich overtone of purple, tanzanite is a one of a kind gem, unlike any other. Rare and valuable, tanzanite is also found only one place on the planet: the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Of course tanzanite is an ideal complement to all the rich blues, purples, and greens in your wardrobe. But the velvety depths of this gem are also beautiful worn with earth tones, from chocolates to rusts and golds.

Only discovered in 1967, tanzanite is already one of the world’s most popular gemstones. Some credit is due to Tiffany & Co., who introduced this beautiful blue gem onto the market with a lovely name that pays tribute to the beauty of the land of its birth. Tiffany knew that to call this glamorous gem by its mineral name, blue zoisite, would not do it justice.

Tanzanite is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Rarely pure blue, tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, tanzanite tends toward lighter shades of lavender and periwinkle. In sizes above 10 carats, tanzanite can show deeper, richer intense blue color.

Tanzanite is trichroic: that is, it shows different colors when viewed in different directions. One direction is blue, another purple, and another bronze, adding subtle depths to the color. When tanzanite is found in the ground, the bronze color dominates. However, with gentle heating, the cutter can watch the blue color bloom and deepen in the stone.

Legend has it that the affect of heat was first discovered when some brown zoisite crystals laying on the ground with other rocks were caught in a fire set by lightning that swept through the grass covered Merelani hills northeast of Arusha. The Masai herders who drive cattle in the area noticed the beautiful blue color and picked the crystals up, becoming the first tanzanite collectors.

Tanzanites with a color that is more blue than purple tend to be more expensive because the crystals tend to form with the blue color axis oriented along the width of the crystal instead of the length. That means that if the cutter chooses to maximize the purity of the blue color, the stone cut from the rough will be smaller and will cost more per carat. The blue color, however, is so beautiful that the sacrifice is often worth it.

Tanzanite jewelry is a little more delicate than other gemstone jewelry and should not be set in a ring that will be worn during strenuous activity. Never clean tanzanite in an ultrasonic cleaner or resize or repair a ring set with tanzanite without having the gem removed because the stone could shatter in the heat of a torch.

Tanzanite is available in a variety of shapes and sometimes in large sizes that are perfect for an important necklace. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

TanzaniteOne 1Q Production +8%, Sales +48%

We publish courtesy of Rapaport 

Author: Jeff Miller 

TanzaniteOne Limited produced 609,737 carats of tanzanite during the first quarter, representing a year on year increase of 8 percent. Sales rose 48 percent to  $3.96 million and TanzaniteOne recovered a remarkable  12,100-carat stone, the third largest mined in the history of the company.

In other news, TanzaniteOne noted the departure of its chief operating officer,   Zane Swanepoel. The specialty miner also stated that it is progressing  towards achieving its 2011 development goals  and  plans to appoint a new general manager for mining shortly.

TanzaniteOne’s chief executive Bernard Olivier said, ”During the quarter we have achieved an increase in production, grade and sales compared with same period last year. We have also achieved a maiden JORC compliant inferred and indicated resource at our Tsavorite project, which we are now completing a second phase of pilot sampling on.

”I would like to take this opportunity to thank Zane Swanepoel for all his efforts and hard work during his time with us. We have a highly experienced management team including an extensive team of highly proficient technical personnel on the ground in Tanzania who along with the company directors will lead the next phase of growth and development,” concluded Olivier.

TanzaniteOne eyeing tsavorite mine in Tanzania

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler

Arusha, Tanzania—TanzaniteOne Limited, the world’s largest miner and supplier of rough tanzanite, is working toward opening a tsavorite mine not far from its existing mining operation.

Earlier this month, the company announced its first Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORC) compliant Resources Statement for the tsavorite project in the Manyara region of northeast Tanzania, about 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) from its tanzanite mine. The project has a total indicated resource of 1.4 to 3.5 million carats of tsavorite.

“Having successfully delineated a maiden resource to JORC compliant standards, we shall now work towards establishing an economic model for a potential tsavorite mine. We expect to provide a further resource update during the second quarter of 2011 following the next phase of the bulk sampling program scheduled in the coming months,” TanzaniteOne Chief Executive Officer Bernard Olivier said in news release.

Another resource statement on the project is expected in the second quarter of 2011, after the company does it second phase of bulk sampling. The current statement is based on work conducted up to Dec. 29 and covers about 50 percent of the project.

A brilliant green gemstone, tsavorite is a variety of grossular garnet first discovered in 1968 in Lemshuku, Tanzania. In 1974, Tiffany & Co. introduced this gemstone to the world, dubbing it “tsavorite” after the nearby Tsavo National Park game reserve in Kenya. The per-carat price of tsavorite is about two to four times higher than tanzanite but roughly a quarter the price of an emerald.

TanzaniteOne posts half-year profit, output up 21%

We publish courtesy of Mining Weekly

Author: Chanel de Bruyn

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Aim-listed TanzaniteOne produced 1,05-million carats of tanzanite in the first half of 2010, up 21% on the 867 381 ct produced in the first half of 2009.

The gem miner on Monday reported a return to profit, recording a $705 000 after-tax profit in the six months ended June 30, 2010, up from a net loss of $580 000 in the six months ended June 2009.

Revenues were up 74% to $8,6-million in the first half of this year, compared with the $4,9-million in revenues earned the year before.

The sale of 855 847 ct of rough tanzanite, at an average price of $8,07/ct, contributed $6,91-million to overall revenues for the six months.

The balance of the revenue was earned from the sale of cut stones, TanzaniteOne told shareholders in a statement, noting that its own cutting, polishing and sales division was providing a growing revenue stream.

Higher tanzanite prices and improvements in the quality and quantity of tanzanite production had also led to an improved gross margin for the company, the world’s largest miner of the rare gemstone reported.

Meanwhile, the gem miner noted that it was still negotiating with the government of Tanzania with regard to the development of domestic cutting operations, following a ban on the export of rough tanzanite larger than 5 ct implemented earlier this year.

In August, TanzaniteOne announced that it would be allowed to export all its rough tanzanite production, including stones larger than 5 ct, until December 31, while it evaluates the development of local cutting operations.

The company plans to expand its in-house cutting and training capabilities through existing relationships with overseas experts, in addition to entering into agreements with external beneficiation companies in Tanzania.

The company was targeting the production of 2,2-million carats of Tanzanite for the 2010 full year.

G&G: Tanzanite, other gems set with colored glue

A colored adhesive is present on the crown facets of this 1.87-carat tanzanite, shown here magnified 20 times. Photomicrograph by Nathan Renfro, (c) Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Reprinted by permission.

We publish courtesy of GIA‘s G&G

Carlsbad, Calif—The latest edition of G&G’s eBriefcontains several items of interest to those on the lookout for colored gemstone treatments: One is the discovery of tanzanite and other gems set with colored adhesive to darken their color, and another is the revelation that a ruby set in a piece of antique jewelry was actually filled with lead glass, a relatively new treatment.

The news was included in a G&G eBrief newsletter sent out Aug. 3 by Gems & Gemology, a Gemological Institute of America publication devoted to the latest gemological research.

The adhesive-set stones were discovered by a California goldsmith who was removing stones from some bezel-set rings that he had purchased in 2009 from a customer who had bought the rings from a TV home shopping network. He noticed that the tanzanite and other gems were set with what appeared to be colored adhesive, and alerted the GIA in March 2010.

Upon inspecting a 1.87-carat tanzanite submitted by the goldsmith, the GIA laboratory team found that a purple-colored flexible adhesive was visible on some of the crown facets, particularly at the corners. After it was removed, the color of the tanzanite appeared “very slightly lighter,” the eBrief said. The goldsmith told GIA that the other stones he removed from the rings became noticeably lighter once the adhesive was removed and that was particularly true for the amethyst.

“The colored adhesive was obviously intended to enhance the appearance of the stones, as well as help hold them in their mountings,” says the G & G eBrief item from GIA. “Buyer beware!”

The second colored stone treatment related item stemmed from a report from the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL), which uses the term “composite ruby” to distinguish lead glass-filled rubies from rubies that undergo the more common heat treatment. The former have drawn a lot of attention within the gemstone trade because they require special care during repairs and can also be damaged by common household chemicals.

The AGL item noted that despite the prevalence of the composite rubies in the marketplace, the lab was surprised to find such a ruby in an antique pendant submitted for identification. The pendant, which did not appear to be a replica, was set with old-mine-cut diamonds and seed pearls, consistent with its apparent age, but the lab identified the center stone as a composite ruby, with an estimated weight of 7.5 carats. The composite ruby had been carefully reset (the milgrain around the bezel was in good condition), and the lab detected no degradation of the glass in the stone—something that could be caused by the jeweler’s torch.

“The fact that this material has started to show up in antique jewelry is representative of how far it has penetrated the market and reinforces the importance of proper identification and disclosure,” the author of the eBrief item, from a staffer at the AGL laboratory, wrote.

Tanzanite firm reduces losses

The following report is published courtesy of East African Business Week

Author: Joseph Elinaza

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA – TanzaniteOne, the largest tanzanite gemstones producer in the world, has reduced losses after tax by 71 per cent by cutting production to contain costs.

The company decided to cut production costs following the impact of global economic downturn on the global luxury goods sector.

Tanzanite is a precious stone used to manufacture jewelry although locals attach a lot of other psychic uses like bringing good luck to a baby.

The company closed 2009 financial year by posting an after tax loss of $2.5 million (or US 2.54 cents per share) compared to the loss of US$ 8.7 million (or US11.62 cents per share) in 2008.

The result for the year was heavily influenced by a significant reduction in sales revenue experienced during the period, which saw sales reduce by 54 per cent compared to the previous year (2008).

The 2009 financial results issued last month showed that the financial result was also adversely affected by the recognition of a provision of $1.0 million for missing tanzanite inventory in South Africa.

The company is currently pursuing insurance and legal channels to recover the loss.

The company’s South African office has since been closed.

Commenting on the results, Mr Bernard Olivier, Chief Executive Officer said due to the economic crisis in the latter half of 2008, the beginning of 2009 saw weak demand for luxury goods and very low gemstone prices.

“As 2009 progressed the Tanzanite price, as mirrored in the diamond industry, made a consistent recovery, a trend reflected in our ongoing sight results,” Olivier said.

In addition to improving prices, the CEO said, “Our work is optimizing and streamlining operations quickly to deliver tangible improvements to TanzaniteOne’s margins.”

Operational optimization resulted in a 19 % increase in recovery of tanzanite compared to our 2008 forecast and 45 % reduction in company operating costs.

TanzaniteOne said its priority is to continue to expand tanzanite production, with high-tech gemstone extraction operations, and achieve production target of 2.2 million carats for 2010.

The company is hopping to better its financial status through its new marketing initiatives targeting growth of the lighter and included material was launched with a target of opening up in new markets, thus expanding the tanzanite distribution.

“Cutting and polishing technologies have been implemented to realize the maximum value that these categories are able to deliver,” part of the financial statement indicates.

despite the losses the firm is still optimistic that the gemstone will attract a wider market since it can only be found in Tanzania. This alone would ensure it is highly competitive.