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 Shop LC, we’re proud to be one of eight official sightholders of Tanzanite at TanzaniteOne Ltd, who control the Tanzanite mines. This allows us to secure only the most exceptional quality Tanzanite, such as the very popular AAA Tanzanite.
Tanzanite is the blue to 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 as green tanzanite or pink tanzanite, although these colors are rare. It is officially recognized as the birthstone of December.