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Tanzanite gets its name from its origin of Tanzania. In 1967, Manuel d'Souza discovered this extraordinary variety of the mineral zoisite while searching for sapphires. The Tanzania mines are located at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Widely seen as a geological phenomenon, this precious gemstone formed in the earth's surface over 585 million years ago during the pan-African event (the shifting of continents). It's also trichroic in nature, meaning that it radiates blue, violet, and burgundy from its crystallographic axes, depending upon the stone cut.
A commemorative gemstone for the 24th wedding anniversary as well as December birthdays, tanzanite is thought to balance emotions and clear the heart chakra, helping people accept change. Ranking a 6 or 7 on Moh's hardness scale, it's considered to be a soft gemstone and more fragile than sapphires. To clean tanzanite, use a gentle detergent and a soft brush. Allow ample drying time before storing. Ultra-sonic devices and steam-based cleaners are not recommended.
Information provided by Hayley Henning of the Tanzanite Foundation.
The beauty, brilliance, and durability of spinel make it the perfect gemstone to wear every day and in any type of jewelry. Spinel is available in exotic locations throughout the world in a wide array of colors, including pink, red, lavender, purple, blue, and black.
Since spinel is an 8 on the Mohs' scale of hardness, it can be faceted to a brilliant sparkle and is difficult to chip and scratch. Historically, spinel has been often confused with other similarly colored gemstones. The high brilliance and reflective nature that faceted black spinel exhibits makes it easily mistaken for black diamonds. Because spinel can be found in many of the same mining areas that produce sapphire and ruby, it has often been mistaken for these beauties. In fact, several fine historically important "rubies," including the "Black Prince's Ruby" in the British Crown Jewels, is actually red spinel.