Tanzanite and tourmaline have enjoyed a marked increase in sales over the past few years. It’s easy to see why.
Tanzanite, a relatively rare, vibrant purplish-blue form of zoisite, is found only in Tanzania – hence its name, bestowed in 1969 by Tiffany & Co. Though it comes from only one source, that source has been producing more material, so prices remain affordable. Remember that commercial tanzanite is heat treated to transform the dowdy brown in which it is found to the desirable purple-blue. (A relatively new find yields a green tanzanite, colored by chromium.)
Tourmaline, on the other hand, has been around for centuries, comes in a variety of colors and is found in many widely scattered areas, including Madagascar, Afghanistan and even the U.S. The most popular colors are pink, red, blue and green (in every shade and hue imaginable), but tourmaline also comes in peach, yellow, golden brown, black and purple. A new favorite is an electric teal blue from the Paraíba mine in the state of Paraíba in northwestern Brazil. Tourmaline also displays a bi-color phenomenon, seen at its best in slices of watermelon tourmaline, so named because its pink center and green edges look like a slice of the summer fruit.
See the May issue of JCK for photos of some of the newest, most creative designs available using these T-riffic stones.