Jessica Simpson’s recent engagement ring shined a spotlight on rubies. The royal engagement ring from England’s Prince William to Kate Middleton certainly propelled Sapphires back to popularity. And celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Amy Adams validated the recent spike in Emerald sales when they wore the green gemstone at this year’s Oscars.
And now it seems that a massive rough Tanzanite stone has been found in Tanzania, for which the gemstone is known for, weighing 12,100 carats.
The deep colored gemstone was first discovered in Northern Tanzania in 1967, and depending on the crystal formation of each stone, it can appear to be different colors when held to the light.
One of the most famous cut tanzanite gems is perhaps The Queen of Kilimanjaro; weighing 242 carats it was set into a tiara with 803 Brilliant cut tsavorite garnets, and 913 Brilliant cut diamonds. The tiara is currently on display in the Gallery of Gold and Gems at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on loan from Michael Scott, the first CEO of Apple Computers.
Mostly found in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite is considered a pretty rare gemstone. However, the soft nature may be a deterrent for use as a center stone in an engagement ring, but its versatility, at times appearing sapphire blue and other violet, could prove Tanzanite to be a stunning side of accent stone.
For example, designs like the Classico 0349 from Verragio, which features a row of smaller Round cut diamonds set around the band and run continuously under the Round cut center diamond suspended above, could be perfect for tanzanite. Instead of diamonds adorning the band, tanzanite’s unique color could add an interesting extra element to the design, and because there is a lip of metal on each side of the row of gemstones, it is added protection for their soft nature.
The Paradiso 3060R from Verragio also has built in protection to its design with a metal lip on either side of the row of smaller Round cut diamonds that are joint prong set into the shank on either side of the Round cut center diamond. However, if you would like to include tanzanite in a more subtle way, instead of setting them into the shank, there are small Round cut diamond bezels set into the scrolling design inside of the band, for which the Paradiso collection is known for. Substituting the bezels for tanzanite is an almost hidden way to showcase the rich blue/purple stones while transforming the design into something truly unique.
The massive tanzanite found in Africa recently still has to be analyzed for grading, but is expected to receive a grade of ‘A,’ leading TanzaniteOne, the company that discovered the stone, to consider cutting it, in-house for smaller stones to be sold. Since most finished tanzanite gems are sold in the U.S. for approximately $500 million a year, something tells us that there will be no shortage of buyers.