Tanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone. It occurs in only one place worldwide. It is named after the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found. Africa? It is a continent which provides the world with a multitude of truly magnificent gemstones, like tanzanite for example.
On its discovery in 1967, it was enthusiastically celebrated by the specialists as the ‘gemstone of the 20th century’. They held their breath in excitement as they caught sight of the first deep-blue crystals which had been found in the Merelani Hills near Arusha in the north of Tanzania. Millions of years ago, metamorphic schists, gneisses and quartzites formed impressive, flattopped inselbergs on a vast plain in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.
The precious crystals grew in deposits on the inside of these unusual elevations. For a long, long time they were hidden from the eye of Man, until one day some passing Masai shepherds noticed some sparkling crystals lying in the sun and took them along with them. In Merelani today, the search is carried on for the coveted crystals in several, smallish mines, in some cases using modern methods. As a rule, only small grains are found, but now and again the mineworkers succeed in fetching out a larger crystal – to the joy of the mine owners and that of the large number of tanzanite fans.
Information supplied by the International Coloured Gemstone Association.