A Tanzanite Enthusiast’s How-To

Tanzanite, with its alluring purple color, is considered among the most desirable of gemstones on the market not only because of its beauty, but also due to the increasing rarity of the semi-precious gemstone. The available supply of tanzanite dwindles daily and, as a result, its value increases exponentially. Acquiring tanzanite is an investment, and to invest, it is critical to know exactly what you’re looking for, and how to get it.

Let’s begin with a brief history of tanzanite. Originally discovered in 1967, it is mined exclusively at the base of the Kilamanjo foothills in Tanzania, hence the name Tanzanite. No other mine in the world contains the semi-precious stones that will be heat-treated at over 500 degrees Celsius to become tanzanite. In April 1998, the region was subject to the wrath of El Nino, and with rising waters the entirety of the mine was flooded, and most parts collapsed. Tanzanite extraction is nearly complete and, the rumors are true. The mine is running dry, and soon, there will be no tanzanite on the market to have at all.

If you’re desirous of investing in tanzanite, the time to buy is certainly sooner than later, and the safest place for it is on display in a jewelry box, marked specifically for special occasions only use. While tanzanite is a remarkably beautiful stone, it only falls in at a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness–a diamond is at a 10. Thus, while it is an eye-catching adornment to wear in any form, tanzanite must be treated delicately–it is not impermeable to scratches and breaks, and is not safe for ultrasonic cleaning or ammonia-based cleaners. Soap and water does the trick.

The value of tanzanite is determined not only by its size, but also by its color. There are three ratings of tanzanite color. The first is the 1A rating, which refers to tanzanite that is lighter in color, closer to lilac or pale purple. The second is AA rating, which distinguishes the medium spectrum of the purple range. Lastly is AAA rating, which singles out the richest and deepest purple hues in tanzanite stones. Triple A rated tanzanite is undoubtedly the most valuable, and unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to find in the United States unless you hit the New York boutiques with a large checkbook. If any jewelry stores do carry tanzanite in your area, chances are the stones are A or AA rated, pale lavender at the worst to a medium purple at best, though they still carry (on average) a hefty price tag of over $1200 for any substantial piece and are of mediocre quality.

Take that same $1200-$1500 you might spend in the states for a so-so piece of tanzanite, and venture to the Caribbean. You’ll find AAA quality tanzanite, meticulously cut, and of larger size for the same price tag–and you’ll have a real investment. It’s only in the Caribbean that you can find Safi Kilima tanzanite (meaning “pure mountain” tanzanite). Safi Kilima is, without question, the best. The father and son team select among only the top 10% of triple A-rated tanzanite and of that, they only craft the top 3% into their jewelry. Safi Kilima tanzanite is of breathtaking, royal purple color bordering on indigo–it is the rarest of the rare, a true piece of beauty, and a rich investment. Safi Kilima tanzanite can be found at wholesalers such as Tanzanite International, Diamonds International, and Effy jewelers which all have locations from Aruba to Costa Maya to St. Thomas and beyond. Buy in the Caribbean and you buy tanzanite as direct as you can find it, at the lowest prices anywhere, and the guaranteed best quality. Diamonds International and Tanzanite International as co-partners in the same company and are site holders with exclusive granted rights to sell direct. They are not retailers. Should you be tempted to buy tanzanite at a department store, remember this–the price you pay, even if the piece is listed as “on sale”, reflects the fact that your jewelry has passed through at least five different hands before it gets to yours. Each time, the price gets elevated, and oftentimes the quality that you find in the United States, as aforementioned, does not justify the price you will pay. Invest in the best, and with tanzanite gaining status and declining in availability, your returns will astonish you.