Tiffany & Co. introduced Tanzanite to the market in 1968 naming it after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered. Tiffany’s marketing department created the gemstone’s name after deciding that its scientific name, blue-violet zoisite, was too hard for consumers to remember.
Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism (a chemical structure causing a double refraction when white light passes through) that leads to it appearing alternatively blue, violet and burgundy. Blue will be more evident when the gemstone is viewed under fluorescent light; violet hues will be more evident when viewed under incandescent light.
Tanzanite’s hardness registers 6.5 on the Moh’s Scale. The gemstone is safest set in pendants and earrings. Expect the gemstone to show wear if you set it into a frequently worn ring.
Zircon, December’s second birthstone, is one of my favorites appearing frequently in my custom designs. Its numerous colors – reddish brown, yellow, green, blue, gray, peach, orange, red, pale brown and colorless – inspire my creativity. I equally appreciate the gemstone’s high refractive index making it similar to a diamond. Also, its strong luster and intense fire give it a flash comparable with a diamond.
Zircon’s hardness (7.5 on the Moh’s Scale) attests to its durability so it can be set into any piece of jewelry. It is mined in Tanzania and Cambodia.