Diamonds don’t have to be a girl’s only best friend.
When we talk of gemstones, lots of ‘traditional’ stones come to mind – diamonds (of course!) emeralds, rubies… These are all fabulous gems that everyone will have heard of and whose names have often become synonymous with the colours in which they are generally found.
We love working with them all. But there are many other gemstones that are perhaps less known but are equally as beautiful. We thought that we would explain a little about the origin of some of our favourite stones, which you will hopefully find of interest (and you never know when the odd bit of knowledge is going to prove useful at the local pub quiz!).
Photo: left – Catherine Best’s Hummingbird diamond and tanzanite pendant
Right - uncut bright blue tanzanite crystal
Tanzanite – named after the only place in the world where this gemstone can be found, Tanzania - was first discovered in 1967. Since then its popularity has seen rapid growth, which is not surprising when you see its amazing colour - vibrant blue tones with a hint of purple.
Immediately after its discovery in the Merelani Hills in north Tanzania, tanzanite was celebrated as ‘the gemstone of the 20th century’. Millions of years ago, quartzites (extremely compact hard granular rock) formed inselbergs (isolated hills) in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. The crystals then grew inside these elevations and hence were hidden from human view for centuries until discovered by Masai shepherds.
In Merelani today, the coveted stones continue to be sought by a number of small mines.
Of the important gemstones discovered over the last 90 years or so, tanzanite is the only one to have been added to the official birthstone list, having been adopted as a December birthstone by the American Gem Trade Association (alongside turquoise and zircon), an indication of its popularity, and beauty.
Take a look at some of our tanzanite pieces here – especially if there is a December birthday in the family!
Research source: gemstone.org