Blue Valentine: Tanzanite Turns 45

JCK presents a primer on the African gem’s origin, allure, and numerous selling pointsWhen a Maasai herdsman stumbled upon shimmering blue-violet crystals in the foothills of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967, he had no idea they’d soon end up in the showcases at the venerable ­Tiffany & Co. in New York City.“Despite forming over 500 million years ago, tanzanite was discovered only 45 years ago,” says Hayley Henning, executive director of the Tanzanite Foundation. The nonprofit trade group is celebrating the stone’s anniversary this year with an awareness campaign that culminates at this month’s JCK Las Vegas show. “It is a gemological phenomenon.”Today, tanzanite remains an easy stone to romance. Originating from a single source and limited in supply—according to geological estimates, only a few decades’ worth of rough remain in the ground—the gem boasts

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