Home Knowledges Tanzanite Durability & Scratch Resistance: A Quick Guide

Tanzanite Durability & Scratch Resistance: A Quick Guide

by Madonna

Tanzanite, a rare and dazzling gemstone, has captivated the world with its mesmerizing blue and violet hues. Its unique color and rarity have made it a popular choice for jewelry. However, tanzanite’s exquisite appearance has sometimes raised questions about its durability. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of tanzanite and examine the common misconceptions surrounding its scratch resistance. Is tanzanite as delicate as it appears, or can it withstand the tests of daily wear? Let’s separate myth from reality.

The Fascination of Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a remarkable gemstone that was discovered relatively recently, in 1967, in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. Its striking blue to violet-blue color, often described as “velvet blue,” has made it highly sought after in the world of jewelry. The gem’s trichroic properties, which cause it to display different colors from different angles, add to its allure.


Common Misconceptions about Tanzanite Durability

Tanzanite’s delicate appearance, combined with its relative newness in the gemstone world, has given rise to several misconceptions about its durability. Some of these misconceptions include:

  • Tanzanite is too soft and scratches easily.
  • Tanzanite is too brittle and prone to breakage.
  • Tanzanite is not suitable for everyday jewelry.

In this article, we will address these misconceptions, focusing specifically on tanzanite’s scratch resistance, which is a common concern among potential buyers and jewelry enthusiasts.


The Mohs Scale of Hardness

Tanzanite, like other gemstones, is measured on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The Mohs Scale, created by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, ranks minerals and gemstones based on their resistance to scratching. The scale ranges from 1 (the softest, talc) to 10 (the hardest, diamond). Tanzanite falls within this range and is assigned a hardness value.

Tanzanite is relatively high on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, typically ranking between 6.5 and 7. This places it above many common gemstones like quartz, topaz, and opal. While it is not as hard as sapphire or diamond, tanzanite possesses a moderate level of hardness.

Factors Influencing Scratch Resistance

Several factors influence a gemstone’s scratch resistance. Understanding these factors can provide insight into how tanzanite fares when it comes to scratching.

1. Hardness:

The gem’s inherent hardness, as determined by the Mohs Scale, plays a crucial role. Tanzanite’s hardness level makes it more resistant to scratches compared to softer gemstones.

2. Cleavage:

Cleavage is a gem’s tendency to split along certain planes or directions. Tanzanite exhibits distinct cleavage, meaning it can be more prone to breakage along these cleavage planes. However, cleavage is not the same as scratch resistance.

3. Inclusions and Surface Imperfections:

The presence of inclusions or surface imperfections in a gemstone can create weak points where scratches may occur more easily. The quality of the tanzanite and the presence of such imperfections can impact its scratch resistance.

4. Mounting and Setting:

The way a tanzanite is mounted or set in jewelry can also affect its scratch resistance. Proper protection and secure settings can help minimize the risk of scratches.

Daily Wear and Tanzanite

Many people wonder whether tanzanite is suitable for everyday wear, given its unique properties. Let’s explore how tanzanite fares in the context of daily use:

1. Tanzanite as an Engagement Ring Stone

Tanzanite has become a popular choice for engagement rings due to its enchanting color and symbolism. While it may not be as hard as sapphire or diamond, it can still withstand daily wear when properly cared for. Engagement rings featuring tanzanite are often accompanied by protective settings and periodic inspections to ensure the gem’s security.

2. Tanzanite in Necklaces and Earrings

Tanzanite is also a preferred gemstone for necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry types. These pieces generally experience less wear and tear than rings, making tanzanite a durable choice for such accessories. However, precautions should still be taken to prevent damage.

See Also: Tanzanite VS Amethyst: Which is More Valuable?

Caring for Tanzanite Jewelry

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and beauty of tanzanite jewelry. Here are some tips for caring for your tanzanite pieces:

1. Avoid Abrasive Materials:

Tanzanite jewelry should not come into contact with abrasive materials that can scratch the gem. Be cautious when wearing it alongside other jewelry.

2. Regular Cleaning:

Clean your tanzanite jewelry with a soft, damp cloth or a mild soapy solution. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners, as they can harm the stone.

3. Secure Settings:

Ensure that tanzanite is securely set in its mounting. Loose settings can increase the risk of the gem coming into contact with hard surfaces and being scratched.

4. Periodic Inspections:

Have your tanzanite jewelry inspected by a professional jeweler regularly to check for loose stones and potential issues.

5. Storage:

Store your tanzanite jewelry in a jewelry box or pouch to prevent it from coming into contact with other gemstones or abrasive materials.

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

The Influence of Cleavage on Tanzanite Durability

Cleavage is a distinctive property of tanzanite and can sometimes raise concerns about its durability. While cleavage can make tanzanite more prone to breakage along certain planes, it is not the primary factor influencing scratch resistance.

The Myth of Tanzanite’s Brittle Nature

Tanzanite’s reputation for being brittle has contributed to the misconception that it scratches easily. While tanzanite does have a degree of cleavage, it is not inherently brittle when worn as jewelry. Instead, it should be treated with care, much like other precious gemstones.

Protective Settings for Tanzanite

To mitigate the risk of damage to tanzanite, jewelry designers and professionals often recommend protective settings. Here are some of the common settings used to enhance tanzanite’s durability:

1. Bezel Settings:

Bezel settings encircle the entire tanzanite, holding it securely in place and providing a protective frame. This setting type can minimize the risk of scratches or damage.

2. Prong Settings:

Prong settings can be used to hold tanzanite in place, but they should be inspected regularly to ensure the prongs remain secure. This setting allows more light to pass through the gem for enhanced brilliance.

3. Tension Settings:

Tension settings suspend the tanzanite between two metal arms, creating a secure grip without the need for traditional prongs. This contemporary design minimizes the risk of damage.

How to Choose Durable Tanzanite Jewelry?

When selecting tanzanite jewelry, you can make informed choices to ensure durability and longevity. Here are some tips for choosing durable tanzanite pieces:

1. Quality and Origin:

Begin by selecting high-quality tanzanite from reputable sources. The gem’s quality and origin play a significant role in its durability.

2. Secure Settings:

Examine the setting of the tanzanite carefully. Well-constructed and secure settings are essential for minimizing the risk of damage.

3. Metal Choice:

The metal used in the jewelry piece can affect its durability. Durable metals like platinum and white gold are good choices for tanzanite settings.

4. Professional Inspection:

Prior to purchase, have the tanzanite jewelry inspected by a qualified jeweler to ensure its quality and workmanship.

5. Warranty and Insurance:

Consider warranties and insurance for your tanzanite jewelry. These can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of damage.


Tanzanite, with its enchanting color and captivating beauty, is a gemstone that has raised questions about its durability, particularly regarding its resistance to scratches. However, the common misconceptions about tanzanite’s fragility do not accurately reflect its properties. While it is not as hard as diamond or sapphire, tanzanite possesses a moderate level of hardness that makes it relatively resistant to scratches.

With proper care and attention, tanzanite can withstand daily wear and continue to shine brilliantly in a variety of jewelry pieces, from rings to necklaces and earrings. By understanding tanzanite’s unique characteristics and employing protective settings and maintenance practices, you can enjoy the beauty of this rare gemstone without unnecessary concerns about its durability. Remember that tanzanite’s allure lies not only in its mesmerizing blue and violet hues but also in its ability to endure the tests of time and daily life, making it a timeless choice for jewelry aficionados around the world.


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