Tanzanite One

27 | 05 | 2021

Africa  |  Gems

Locality of the world famous Tanzanite crystals

The Merelani Mine in the Umba valley in the north of Tanzania is the only locality in the world that produces deep blue tanzanite. The name tanzanite for the blue variety of the mineral zoisite was affected by the jeweller Tiffany in the 60ies of the last century. The name “zoisite” was him too near the word “suicide”.
The Mine is divided in 4 blocks and is located 40 km south east of the city of Arusha. With quite simple mining methods, miners search for graphite veins in a depth of 700 m. The pockets with Calcite, Pyrite and Tanzanite occur in these veins.
Especially specimens like the 22cm high and 11.000 cts. heavy „Kilimandscharo” , the world’s biggest, undamaged and untreated crystal are fantastic examples of this wonderful gemstone.

A very special optical phenomenon is the trichroism. Some of the high-value Tanzanite crystals show a strong color change from blue to purple to red in the three main axes. The main part of tanzanite processed by the jewelry industry is produced by heating yellowish-brown crystals. At this procedure the red part in the c-axis gets lost.

Marcus Budil had the possibility to visit this fantastic locality and brought us some nice images of his collection and the mine. All specimen are untreated and from the collection Marcus Budil. All Mineral photos are from Malte Sickinger.

Fotos Mine/ Credits Mine
Marcus Budil / Monaco

Fotos Studio / Credits Studio
Malte Sickinger / Germany

Autor/ Author
Matthias Benz / Germany