Tanzania is the world’s only source of tanzanite, a semi-precious stone found in the open mines around Arusha. The stone comes in three grades, ‘A’, ‘AA’, and ‘AAA’ – ‘AAA’ is the highest quality.
Millions of years ago, metamorphous slates, gneiss stone and quarzites shaped impressive flat insular mountains on the wide plains near Mount Kilimanjaro. In the core of these unusual rises the valuable crystals are stored. For a long time they remained hidden, until one day some Masaai herdsmen passing by noticed crystals sparkling in the sun and picked them up.
The deep blue of Tanzanite is magnificent, ranging from ultramarine to a light purplish blue. The most coveted colour is a blue which shows a purplish hue shimmering around it, which is extremely spectacular in sizes above ten carats.
Fakes abound, so if you’re going to invest in one of Tanzania largest exports, be sure to do it right. Don’t buy from dealers on the street or anyone who looks suspect. Most licensed curios shops and dealers stock different grades, cuts, and colours of the popular gem and please be sure to follow export procedure.