Home Knowledges A Comprehensive Guide on How to Identify Authentic Tanzanite

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Identify Authentic Tanzanite

by Madonna

Tanzanite, with its mesmerizing violet-blue hue, has captivated gemstone enthusiasts worldwide. However, the allure of this precious stone has also attracted unscrupulous individuals looking to profit from its popularity. Distinguishing real tanzanite from imitations or synthetic alternatives requires a keen eye and a comprehensive understanding of the gemstone’s unique characteristics. In this article, we will explore the key features that can help you identify authentic tanzanite, ensuring that your investment is genuine and of the highest quality.

Understanding Tanzanite Origins

The first step in identifying real tanzanite is to understand its origin. Tanzanite is exclusively found in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, making its geographic origin a crucial factor. This gemstone’s geological uniqueness plays a pivotal role in its identification, as imitations often lack the distinct geological markers present in authentic tanzanite.


See Also: Where Can I Find Tanzanite: The Origins & Discoveries


Color: The True Identity of Tanzanite

The vibrant color of tanzanite is its most defining characteristic. Genuine tanzanite exhibits a mesmerizing blue-violet hue, often described as velvety or intense. Be wary of stones that appear too pale or overly dark, as these may indicate low-quality or imitative specimens. The presence of secondary colors such as green or gray can also be a red flag, suggesting potential treatments or a synthetic origin.


Dispersion and Pleochroism: Nature’s Signature

Examining the dispersion and pleochroism of tanzanite can provide valuable insights into its authenticity. Dispersion refers to the gemstone’s ability to split light into spectral colors, creating a play of colors within the stone. Tanzanite’s moderate to high dispersion is a distinctive trait that sets it apart from many imitations.

Pleochroism, on the other hand, refers to the stone’s ability to display different colors when viewed from different angles. Authentic tanzanite typically exhibits pleochroism, showcasing a range of colors from blue to violet depending on the angle of observation. Synthetic or imitation tanzanite often lacks this natural phenomenon, aiding in its identification.

Inclusions: Nature’s Fingerprint

Examining inclusions within the gemstone is a crucial aspect of identifying real tanzanite. While some gemstones strive for perfection, tanzanite often contains unique inclusions that serve as its “fingerprint” of authenticity. These inclusions, which may include tiny crystals or growth patterns, are indicators of the gemstone’s natural formation process. Imitations or synthetic tanzanite may lack these distinctive inclusions, providing a clue to their artificial origin.

Hardness: Tanzanite’s Resilience

Tanzanite possesses a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, indicating its durability. Scratching or chipping is uncommon in authentic tanzanite, and any signs of wear and tear should raise suspicions about the stone’s legitimacy. Performing a simple scratch test using common materials with lower hardness can help assess the gemstone’s resilience, providing additional evidence of its authenticity.

UV Light: A Diagnostic Tool

Utilizing ultraviolet (UV) light can be a valuable diagnostic tool when identifying real tanzanite. Authentic tanzanite often exhibits a distinctive reaction to UV light, displaying a red, pink, or orange fluorescence. This reaction is a result of the presence of manganese, a trace element in tanzanite. Imitations or synthetic stones may lack this fluorescence, aiding in their differentiation from genuine tanzanite under UV light.

Heat Treatment: A Common Practice

It’s essential to be aware that heat treatment is a common practice in the tanzanite industry. This process is employed to enhance the stone’s color and eliminate any undesirable hues. While heat-treated tanzanite is still considered genuine, it’s crucial to be informed about the treatment and its impact on the gemstone’s value. Transparent disclosure from the seller regarding any treatments is a hallmark of a reputable and ethical transaction.

Certification: The Assurance of Authenticity

When in doubt, seek out certified tanzanite from reputable gemological laboratories. Certificates from recognized institutions, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI), provide assurance of the gemstone’s authenticity and quality. These certificates detail the stone’s key characteristics, including color, cut, carat weight, and any treatments it may have undergone.

Buy from Reputable Sources: Trust Matters

One of the most effective ways to ensure the authenticity of your tanzanite is to purchase from reputable sources. Established jewelers, dealers, or online platforms with a track record of transparency and ethical practices are more likely to provide genuine tanzanite. Research the seller’s reputation, read customer reviews, and inquire about the stone’s origin and certification before making a purchase.

See Also: When Will Tanzanite Run Out: What You Need To Know


Identifying real tanzanite requires a combination of knowledge, observation, and sometimes assistance from gemological experts. By understanding the unique features of this exquisite gemstone, such as its origin, color, pleochroism, inclusions, hardness, UV reaction, and any potential treatments, you can make informed decisions when adding tanzanite to your collection. Always prioritize purchasing from reputable sources and insist on certification to ensure the authenticity and value of your investment. With these guidelines, you can navigate the world of tanzanite with confidence, appreciating the beauty of this rare gemstone with the assurance of its genuine nature.

FAQs About Tanzanite

1. What are the common imitations or synthetics of Tanzanite?

Answer: Common imitations include blue-violet glass, synthetic spinel, and synthetic corundum. Be aware of stones that are sold as “blue zoisite” or “tanzanite-like” since they may not be genuine tanzanite.

2. What is the best way to identify real Tanzanite?

Answer: Consult a reputable gemologist or jeweler. They can use gemological instruments such as a spectroscope, refractometer, and microscope to examine the stone’s properties.

3. Can I identify Tanzanite by its color alone?

Answer: While color is an essential factor, it’s not the sole indicator of authenticity. Genuine tanzanite typically exhibits a trichroic nature, showing blue, violet, and burgundy colors when viewed from different angles.

4. What about Tanzanite’s clarity?

Answer: Tanzanite often has inclusions. If a stone is too clean and lacks any inclusions, it may be a warning sign. However, the presence of inclusions alone doesn’t guarantee authenticity.

5. What is the importance of hardness in Tanzanite identification?

Answer: Tanzanite has a hardness of about 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. While this can help distinguish it from softer imitations, it may not be a foolproof method.

6. Should I buy Tanzanite from reputable sources?

Answer: Yes, purchasing from reputable dealers and jewelers is crucial. Reputable sources are more likely to provide authentic gemstones and offer certificates of authenticity.

7. Can I trust a certificate of authenticity?

Answer: Certificates from recognized gemological laboratories (such as GIA, IGI, or AGS) are generally reliable. Verify the credibility of the issuing laboratory.

8. What if I’m still unsure about the authenticity of Tanzanite?

Answer: If in doubt, seek the advice of a qualified gemologist or take the stone to a reputable jewelry appraiser for professional assessment.


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