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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

December Birthstone – Tanzanite

Tanzanite takes its name from its country of origin – Tanzania. Believed to have formed over 585 million years ago. Tanzanite laid undiscovered until 1967 when it was unearthed by a Maasai tribesman. Tanzanite was identified as the blue-violet variety of the mineral zoisite. Tiffany & Co. were instrumental in the naming of tanzanite making it more marketable and consumer friendly.

Tanzanite can only be found in Tanzania, near to Mt Kilimanjaro. With such a limited supply remaining, it is believed that over the next 20 years all mines will be depleted of this rare gem. Tanzanite has become sacred to the Maasai, given to women after childbirth as an offering of prosperity.

Traditionally now gifted for a 24th wedding anniversary to represent uniqueness.

The world’s largest rough tanzanite crystal is ‘The Mawenzi’ it was mined in 2005 and weighs an astounding 16,839 carats.

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