Tanzanite – December’s alternative birthstone – is a gemstone that imparts vision and spirituality. A member of the zoisite mineral family, tanzanite supports compassion, calmness, and peacefulness with its rich, purple-blue hue.
Celebrate December with a Tanzanite Gemstone
If you have a friend or family member who has a December birthday, gifting a tanzanite gemstone is a great idea. May we suggest it would also make a wonderful holiday gift that will leave you in your loved one’s good graces well into the new year?
History of Tanzanite
Even though the stone itself is more than 500 million years old, tanzanite was only first discovered in 1967 by a prospector named Manuel d’Sousa. The discovery was somewhat of a serendipitous accident as he was looking for sapphires in northeastern Tanzania when he made the discovery.
While d’Sousa’s discovery is the first on record, as legend has it, Maasai herders in the region were actually the first to discover the stone when a bolt of lightning set the grasslands on fire. When the herders returned to their land with their livestock, blue tanzanite stones were all over the ground that had been impacted by the fire.
In Tanzania, women who have just given birth wear blue tanzanite beads to symbolize and envision a healthy life for their newborns – a custom that has existed for generations.
Known for its link to spirituality, the stone is known to activate a number of chakras that link the mind with the heart – making it a communication stone that allows people to speak the truth.
Tanzanite is also known to help treat and heal the skin
Some say it has contributed to awakening people from comas – giving it a reputation for healing properties.
In Ireland, the stone is said to have played a role with ancient Celtic tribes. It is believed that Celtic tribal chiefs would use the stone as part of the selection process to determine the next set of tribal leaders because tanzanite was believed to bring the revelations of the gods.
In modern times, tanzanite was only recently added as an alternative birthstone for the month of December by the American Gem Trade Association. This was the first change to their birthstone list in 90 years.
Today, tanzanite is one of the most popular gemstones on the market and is considered the most desired gem. Since it is much more affordable than any of “the big four”, it is often used as a substitute.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the gemstone is that it was formally named by Tiffany & Co. after the country where it was first discovered – Tanzania.
The Smithsonian museum features two of the largest and most famous tanzanite gemstones mined to date – a 122.7 carat stone and a very rare 18.2 carat cat’s eye tanzanite.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the background of the tanzanite gemstone.