Written by Florence Neau of Athena Jewellery
Tanzanite is a beautiful one location gemstone, part of a group of mineral called Zoisite. It is found in Tanzania close to Mount Kilimanjaro in an area, which is approximately 4km long. It has beautiful blue and violet to purple tones and very occasionally it can be found in the pink and green tones. It is treated with heat like many gemstones to enhance its clarity but I think it is also very nice in its natural form.
Tanzanite is a very recent discovery. There are several stories relating to its first discovery but mostly you will find 1967 as a discovery date. At this time, a Tanzanite is still more affordable than a Diamond but the prices have gone up in the last year in particular due to an array of difficulties surrounding its mining. Just keep in mind that it is very unlikely that Tanzanite will be found anywhere else and it is just as likely that all the mines will be depleted within the next 20-25 years.
This wonderful gemstone is believed to promote the regeneration of cells, skin and hair. It is also supposed to protect against the side-effects of medical or surgical interventions.
Everybody knows Turquoise; if not as a gemstone, it is known as a colour.
Unlike Tanzanite, Turquoise was well known by ancient civilisations. It is said that for the Aztecs, it was more popular than gold. Over the years it has been used both for its beauty and its many beneficial properties. Generally speaking, Turquoise works to restore balance and good health, no matter your ailment.
Turquoise is treated to enhance both its colour and durability. The lower the quality, the more porous and soft the stone is. There are various treatments consisting in waxing, oiling, epoxy binding etc… You may see Turquoise sold as ‘’ Reconstituted Turquoise’’. It is normally used with smaller fragments of Turquoise, which are crushed into a power and reconstituted (bonded) with resin. Make sure you buy from a reliable source though as it is not unusual to find reconstituted Turquoise made of anything but the gemstone itself.
Use only soapy water to care for this stone and always store on its own
I thought we would briefly talk about Zircon, which is also one of the official December birthstones in the US. It is not to be confused with Zirconia which is a lab-created synthetic material.
Zircon is over 4 billion years old so it really has nothing in common with a Zirconia! This gemstone is a typical example of how the market prices do not always reflect the real value and availability of a gemstone. By this I mean that Zircon is rarer than Diamond, yet it is much more affordable. Some gemologists reckon that if Zircon was marketed the same way than Diamonds were, not only it would be way more expensive but also all Zircon mines would be depleted within 12 months. The Zircon is hard and dense, which may explain why it survived so many eras. They come in various colours but brown, blue and white are the most used. The colourless version is often used as a cheaper but natural substitute to diamonds due to its brilliant luster.