Home Knowledges The Beauty of Tanzanite: What Does It Look Like?

The Beauty of Tanzanite: What Does It Look Like?

by Madonna

Tanzanite, the enchanting blue-violet gemstone discovered in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, is renowned for its stunning beauty and captivating colors. It’s a gem that has captured the hearts of gemstone enthusiasts and jewelry connoisseurs worldwide. In this article, we embark on a journey to unravel the mesmerizing world of tanzanite, delving into its colors, characteristics, and the factors that make it truly exceptional.

The Colors of Tanzanite

One of the most distinctive and alluring features of tanzanite is its captivating color. Tanzanite exhibits a wide range of hues, from deep blues to violet, with intermediate shades that often defy simple categorization. The primary colors associated with tanzanite are blue and violet, but the interplay of these hues creates a visual spectrum that is nothing short of spectacular.


Tanzanite’s color can be described as a rich, velvety blue with overtones of violet, making it one of the few gemstones that are trichroic, displaying different colors when viewed from different angles. In natural daylight, tanzanite’s color may appear more blue, while under incandescent lighting, it often takes on a more violet or purplish hue. The stone’s ability to shift in color under various lighting conditions adds to its mystique and allure.


The finest tanzanite exhibits a saturated blue-violet hue, reminiscent of a deep twilight sky. These top-grade gems are highly prized for their vibrant, intense coloration. As tanzanite is an exceptionally pleochroic gem, it can exhibit a range of colors within a single stone, making each tanzanite gemstone unique and fascinating to observe.


Variations in Tanzanite Color

Tanzanite’s color is not static; it can vary significantly based on a range of factors, including the gem’s size, cut, and the presence of certain impurities. Here are some key variations in tanzanite color:

1. Color Intensity: The most valuable tanzanite gemstones are those with a strong, vivid, and intense blue-violet color. These gems are often referred to as “royal blue” tanzanites and are highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs.

2. Color Zoning: Some tanzanite crystals may display color zoning, where different areas of the stone exhibit varying colors or intensities. This can create intriguing patterns within the gem, adding to its uniqueness.

3. Pleochroism: Tanzanite’s pleochroism, which allows it to display different colors when viewed from different angles, is a key characteristic. This attribute contributes to the gem’s multifaceted beauty, as it can appear blue, violet, or even a combination of both.

4. Size and Cut: The size and cut of a tanzanite can also influence its color appearance. Smaller stones may appear lighter in color, while larger, well-cut stones can showcase a deeper and more saturated hue.

5. Overtones: Some tanzanite gems may exhibit color overtones, such as greenish-blue or purplish-blue. These overtones can add complexity to the gem’s color profile.

It’s important to note that tanzanite’s color is not solely determined by these factors; it’s also influenced by the gem’s chemical composition, specifically the presence of trace elements. Vanadium is the key element responsible for the blue and violet hues in tanzanite, and its concentration within the gemstone plays a vital role in its coloration.

The Clarity of Tanzanite

Clarity, referring to the presence or absence of internal and external characteristics, is another critical aspect of a tanzanite’s appearance. Tanzanite, like many other gemstones, can vary in clarity, and these variations can impact the gem’s visual appeal.

Tanzanite is typically considered a Type I gemstone, which means it is often expected to be eye-clean, with no visible inclusions to the naked eye. However, it is not uncommon to find tanzanite gemstones with some inclusions, particularly in larger stones. These inclusions can range from tiny mineral crystals to internal fractures.

Tanzanite with good clarity often appears more brilliant, allowing light to pass through the gem with minimal interference. Gems with a high level of clarity are highly desirable, but it’s important to remember that tanzanite’s color is often its most significant selling point. Some inclusions, especially those that are not readily visible without magnification, may be acceptable to collectors and buyers who prioritize color over clarity.

Cut and Shape

The cut and shape of a tanzanite gemstone greatly influence its overall appearance and brilliance. Tanzanite is typically cut into a variety of shapes, with the most common being oval, round, and cushion cuts. However, it can also be found in other shapes, such as emerald-cut, pear-shaped, or heart-shaped.

A well-executed cut enhances a tanzanite’s ability to reflect and refract light, maximizing its sparkle and brilliance. A skillful cutter will consider the gem’s pleochroism and orientation to bring out the best possible color and minimize any unwanted color zoning. Precision is key in cutting tanzanite, as it is necessary to strike a balance between retaining as much weight as possible and achieving an optimal appearance.

The choice of cut also influences the gem’s appearance. Round and oval cuts tend to emphasize the gem’s color, while emerald cuts may highlight its clarity and pleochroism. The choice of cut is often a matter of personal preference and the intended use of the tanzanite, whether it’s for a classic pendant or a unique custom-designed ring.

Size and Carat Weight

Tanzanite comes in a range of sizes and carat weights, catering to a broad spectrum of preferences and budgets. Smaller tanzanite gemstones, often under one carat, are more affordable and suitable for use in smaller jewelry pieces, such as earrings or delicate necklaces. Larger tanzanites, on the other hand, are prized for their impressive presence and are frequently featured in statement jewelry, including rings and pendants.

The availability of large tanzanite gemstones is relatively limited, making them rarer and more valuable. The size and carat weight of a tanzanite can significantly affect its price, with larger stones commanding higher prices, especially when they exhibit exceptional color and clarity.

It’s important to note that the carat weight of a tanzanite may not always correlate directly with its visual size. The gem’s cut and shape can influence how large it appears to the naked eye. A well-cut tanzanite will maximize its face-up appearance, making it seem more substantial than its carat weight might suggest.

The Influence of Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is a common practice in the tanzanite industry and is used to enhance the gem’s color. Most tanzanite on the market has undergone heat treatment to improve its blue and violet hues. This treatment can transform brownish or grayish tanzanite into the desirable blue-violet shades that are highly valued by consumers.

Heat treatment is typically performed at temperatures between 600°C and 700°C and can result in the alteration of the gem’s pleochroism. When considering a tanzanite purchase, it’s essential to inquire about the gem’s treatment history. Reputable jewelers and dealers should be transparent about whether a tanzanite has been heat-treated or is in its natural state.

The Rarity and Value of Tanzanite

Tanzanite is often regarded as one of the world’s rarest gemstones due to its limited geographical occurrence. It is exclusively found in a small region of northern Tanzania, making it a single-source gem. The rarity of tanzanite, combined with its enchanting color and unique pleochroism, contributes to its desirability and value.

Tanzanite’s value is determined by a combination of factors, with color being the most significant. Intense, saturated blue-violet tanzanites are the most valuable, particularly when they exhibit strong pleochroism. Clarity and size also play important roles, with eye-clean, larger stones commanding higher prices.

The market demand for tanzanite has remained strong, with collectors and consumers appreciating its rarity and beauty. As with any gemstone, the price of tanzanite can fluctuate based on market conditions and availability, so it’s important to stay informed and work with reputable sources when purchasing tanzanite.

Enhancing Tanzanite’s Beauty: Jewelry Settings and Combinations

Tanzanite’s exceptional beauty and unique colors make it a popular choice for jewelry designers and consumers. This versatile gemstone can be used in a variety of jewelry settings and combinations to create stunning pieces. Let’s explore some of the ways in which tanzanite is commonly used in jewelry:

1. Tanzanite Solitaire Rings: Tanzanite solitaire rings, featuring a single tanzanite as the centerpiece, are a classic and elegant choice. The gem’s color and brilliance are highlighted in a simple setting, allowing it to take center stage.

2. Tanzanite Halo Rings: Adding a halo of diamonds or other gemstones around a tanzanite creates a captivating contrast and enhances the gem’s beauty. The brilliance of the diamonds complements the tanzanite’s rich color.

3. Tanzanite Necklaces and Pendants: Tanzanite pendants are a popular choice for those who want to showcase the gem close to the heart. The gemstone’s color is beautifully accentuated when it dangles from a chain.

4. Tanzanite Earrings: Whether as studs, drops, or hoops, tanzanite earrings can be a versatile addition to any jewelry collection. They add a touch of elegance and color to any outfit.

5. Tanzanite and Diamond Combinations: Tanzanite pairs exceptionally well with diamonds. The sparkling brilliance of diamonds complements tanzanite’s rich color, resulting in stunning and luxurious pieces.

6. Tanzanite Bracelets: Tanzanite bracelets are a fashionable way to wear this exquisite gemstone. They can be designed as tennis bracelets or as multi-stone cuffs, adding color and elegance to the wrist.

7. Custom Jewelry: Many consumers choose to create custom jewelry pieces that reflect their personal style and preferences. Custom-designed tanzanite jewelry allows for unique and one-of-a-kind creations.

When selecting a tanzanite for jewelry, it’s important to consider the gem’s color, clarity, and cut. The chosen setting and design should complement the gem’s characteristics, enhancing its natural beauty.

See Also: How to Clean Tanzanite Jewelry at Home: All You Need To Know

The Role of Certifications

As with other precious gemstones, tanzanite can be accompanied by certifications that provide information about its quality and characteristics. One of the most well-known gemstone grading laboratories, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), offers tanzanite grading reports. These reports typically include information about the gem’s color, clarity, carat weight, cut, and treatment, as well as other relevant details.

Having a certified tanzanite can provide peace of mind and assurance of its quality. When purchasing tanzanite, particularly for investment or collector purposes, it’s advisable to acquire a gemstone with a reputable certification to verify its authenticity and characteristics.

See Also: Is Tanzanite Valuable: A Comprehensive Guide


Tanzanite, with its mesmerizing blue-violet hues, has captured the hearts of gemstone enthusiasts and jewelry lovers worldwide. Its rich and complex colors, combined with its rarity, make it a sought-after gemstone for jewelry and collections. Whether you’re drawn to the intense blue-violet of a tanzanite solitaire or the sparkling beauty of tanzanite and diamond combinations, this remarkable gemstone continues to shine brightly in the world of fine jewelry.

Tanzanite’s beauty is as unique as the gem itself, a captivating testimony to the geological forces and mysteries of nature. Whether gracing a pendant or adorning a ring, tanzanite is a gem that leaves a lasting impression, a testament to the magic and wonder of the Earth’s treasures.


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