The largest piece of Tanzanite ever discovered was found just last month, June 2020, by a Maasai tribesman, Saniniu Laizer, a small-scale miner and cattle farmer. Saniniu’s find has a combined weight of 15 kg/33 lbs. (the biggest find to date was just 3 kg). He sold it to the Tanzanian mining ministry for a whopping $3.4 million US Dollars.
Tanzanite is a blue gem quality specimen of the mineral zoisite. Due to its popularity, it was made a birthstone for December in the early 2,000s. It is also a commemorative stone for a 24th anniversary.
Tanzanite is pleochroic, showing three different colors, blue to violet, when viewed from different directions.
The name Tanzanite was given by Tiffany & Co. because its only source of commercial value is located in Tanzania. The specific area within Tanzania is called Merelani Hills, a 14 km² area at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the northern part of the country. Being that it is commercially mined in only one place, it is more precious than diamonds.
Tanzanite was first discovered in the 1960’s by a Maasai tribesman, who presented it to a prospector, Manuel D’souza, who later presented it to Tiffany & Co. Tiffany made a deal to become its main distributor and launched a big publicity campaign in 1968, dubbing it “the most beautiful stone to be discovered in 2,000 years.” Geologists estimate that the reserves will be depleted by 2050.
While in Tanzania, you can purchase a piece of Tanzanite in Arusha town. Ask your trip planner to include a visit to a certified jeweler where you will be given a certificate of authentication with your purchase.