In 1967, a Maasai tailor and part-time gold prospector named Emmanuel Merishiek Mollel discovered fragments of vivid blue and blue-purple gem crystals on a ridge about 40km southeast of his home city of Arusha. Unable to determine the stone’s identity, he believed it to be dumortierite. Soon after, the stones were shown to John Saul, a geologist and gemstone wholesaler who had earned a Ph.D. from M.I.T., and would later discover famous ruby deposits in Kenya. Unable to determine the identity of the stone either, he sent samples to his father, Hyman Saul, the Vice President of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. It was at this time that Hyman Saul took the samples across the nearby Gemological Institute of America, where it was eventually identified as a variety of the mineral zoisite. Officially called “blue zoisite,” it was marketed as Tanzanite by Tiffany & Co., who wanted to capitalize on the rarity of the gem found only in Tanzania.
Here at LC, we’re proud to be one of eight official site holders of Tanzanite at TanzaniteOne Ltd, who control the Tanzanite mines. This allows us to secure only the most exceptional quality Tanzanite, produce exquisite designs, and pass along the outstanding value to our LC Family.
Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral zoisite discovered in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro. It is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism, appearing alternately sapphire blue, violet and burgundy depending on the crystal orientation. Tanzanite is an extremely rare gem, found only in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. It occurs naturally in a predominantly blue color, but it can also occur in green or pink, although these colors are rare. It is officially recognized as the birthstone of December.
To celebrate this beautiful and exciting stone, we’ll be letting all of our LC Family participate in LC’s Tanzanite Trivia, running from Monday, August 12th through Saturday, August 17th. Each day will feature a brand new Tanzanite Trivia question, and one winner will be selected at random each day from all of those who answer correctly, to win some fun LC prizes! So be sure to visit us each day for a new chance to win! Click below to join in on the fun!
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In the past, we here at the LC have traveled to the source of this fantastic stone. Check out some of our Global Hotwire videos, where you can get a first hand look!