Bayco 18K black gold ring with an emerald-cut Ceylon sapphire, round sapphires and diamonds, pretty awesome!
I bought my first piece of chrome diopside a few years ago. It is a pendant with tanzanite on top. It was a birthday gift from my parents, and I was so excited to have what I thought was a “newer” stone. As in, it hasn’t been mined for ages like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. But this gorgeous green gem has been around the block longer than thought, even thought it took until a few years ago to start becoming more and more popular. Even today, on Jewelry Television, or JTV, under the drop-down list of gemstones to look through, chrome diopside now has its place with all the other popular and known gems. Anyways, I came across this article with such good information about the stone. I knew I had to share it with my fellow jewelry lovers!
“In 1988, rumors of a momentous new green gem from Russia started circulating in the trade. Dealers who saw this material when it first surfaced in Europe raved about the resemblance of its color to that of tsavorite and chrome tourmaline and raved as much about its price: only a fraction of these gems. After the wall fell and dealers began exploring the new possibilities for marketing Russian gems, the rush was on. Since then, Chrome diopside has been granted class one export status among Russia’s mineral resources, a ranking that includes Diamond, Emerald, and Alexandrite.”
“Chrome Diopside Mines are found near kimberlite shafts near the mountains in Siberia. The mining of Chrome Diopside can be very tough to do. In sub-zero temperatures, a man’s strength is diminished greatly. That is one reason why it is only mined three months out of the year, July – August.”
“Chrome Diopside forms in basic and ultrabasic igneous and metamorphic rocks. Most Chrome Diopside is mined in a remote area in Eastern Siberia known as Inagli, which is in the state of Sakha.Â The area is better known for its impressive diamond deposits. In Siberia, there isn’t much green to admire for most of the year. Perhaps in compensation, nature placed rich deposits of a vivid green chrome diopside in this snowy region to delight the eye during the long and hard winter months. This challenging landscape is home to the world’s major deposit of chrome diopside.”
“Chrome Diopside makes an excellent substitute for other green gemstones, mainly Emerald and Tsavorite, as it exhibits a similar color at a fraction of the cost. In fact, Chrome Diopside is the most affordable of all the rich green colored gemstones. Chrome Diopside is not treated. Unlike most other gems, which are heated, irradiated or oiled – there is absolutely NO treatment given to Chrome Diopside.”
“Chrome Diopside is a beautiful green stone. It is highly refractive which gives it great sparkle (nearly twice the refraction index compared to emerald). It is rare! Diopside is found all over the planet, but the rare top-gem-quality chrome diopside is found in Siberia. In Siberia, it is too cold to mine during the winter, making an extra task of keeping production levels even throughout the year. On the MOHS scale of hardness, it is rated a 6-6.5, and is suitable for jewelry.”
“It is best to cut the diopside in shapes with rounded corners — such as oval or round. It has two planes, so you have to be extra careful when you facet it. This is also why there is approximately 90% loss on the rough. (So to cut 10 carats of polished Chrome Diopside will require 100 carats of the rough.)”
“The name Diopside is derived from the Greek word ‘di’ meaning two, and ‘opsis’, meaning vision.”
“Diopside is believed to be a creative stone, increasing creative visualization and helping to manifest desired goals. It has also been said that it can improve the wearer’s intellect, particularly with regards to mathematical and analytical abilities. In addition to this, Diopside is believed to alleviate aggression and stubbornness, and is said to be related to love, commitment, and the inner heart.”
“Physically, Diopside is believed to heal the heart, lungs, and the circulatory system. It is also believed to aid with psychological disorders and weaknesses.”
These cupriferous tourmalines from the Mina da Batalha in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba are small, rare and precious. Their spirited turquoise to green colours are such as are not found in any other gemstone in the world. The exclusiveness of this legendary find makes these rare gemstones real treasures.
Paraiba – the word has a particular fascination for the connoisseur, for it is the name of a gemstone with blue to green tones of extraordinary vividness. It was not discovered until very recently, that is to say in the 1980s. The world has one man and his unshakable belief to thank for the discovery of this unique gemstone: Heitor Dimas Barbosa. Tirelessly, he and his assistants spent years digging in the pegmatite galleries of some modest hills in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba.
Most often we think of sapphires as beautiful gemstones that sparkle in intoxicating shades of blue. Beautiful colors like cornflower blue, Kashmir blue and pastel blue come to mind.
But sapphires are not just for the blues! Sapphires can be found in an exciting symphony of colors ranging from daffodil yellows and teal greens to hot pinks and royal purples. In fact nearly every color in the rainbow can be found in a sapphire.
The many colorful varieties of sapphire are referred to as “fancy colored sapphires.” The word “sapphire” by itself is reserved for blue sapphires. Below is a brief tour of the colorful sapphire symphony.
Exceptional pink sapphires often challenge the preeminence of their costlier cousins, pink diamonds. When designing jewelry, we like to set pink sapphires in cool white gold and platinum, perhaps with colorless diamond accents.
Yellow sapphires are found in a broad palette of shades ranging from light yellow chiffon to bright effervescent lemons to deep golden yellow that almost glow with a hint of orange. We like to set the lighter, cooler shades of yellow in white gold and platinum, while the warmer hues, like the deep golden yellows and orangey-yellows, come to life when set in 18kt and 22kt yellow gold.
Green is one of the less commonly seen shades of sapphire. Some of the finest green sapphires come from Sri Lanka, although these stones are extremely rare. Striking examples are also found in rich blue-greens and shades of teal. Yellower stones shading towards olive green and chartreuse are more common.
When you consider fancy color sapphires, do not forget the colorless or white variety. Well-cut colorless sapphires have an appearance like cool, clear water. Although colorless sapphires have often been used as substitutes for diamonds, these gemstones have a charm all their own.
TanzaniteWhat is Tanzanite?
“Tanzanite is a trade name that was first used by Tiffany and Company for gem-quality specimens of the mineral zoisite with a blue color. Tiffany could have sold the material under the mineralogical name of “blue zoisite” but they thought the name “tanzanite” would stimulate customer interest and be easier to market.”
“The name “tanzanite” was given because the world’s only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is in northern Tanzania. The name reflects the gem’s limited geographic origin. The mines are all located in an area of about eight square miles in the Merelani Hills, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and the city of Arusha.”
“Although nearly all of the world’s most popular gemstones have been known and used for hundreds of years, tanzanite was not discovered in commercial quantities until the 1960s. In the short time since then, it has become the second most popular blue gem after sapphire. It is one of a very small number of gems of any color that have been discovered and brought to strong consumer popularity within the past century. This rapid rise to popularity was accomplished mainly by Tiffany’s promotion and tanzanite’s beautiful blue color.”
Tanzanite’s Interesting Color
“The mineral zoisite naturally occurs in a wide range of colors that include colorless, gray, yellow, brown, pink, green, blue and violet. The name “tanzanite” is used for blue to bluish purple to bluish violet specimens. This type of name is not unusual. The name “ruby” is used for red to slightly purplish-red specimens of the mineral corundum; the name “amethyst” is used for purple specimens of the mineral quartz; and, the name “emerald” is used for green specimens of the mineral beryl.”
“The discovery of transparent crystals of blue zoisite stimulated interest in the gem. Soon after that discovery, laboratory experiments determined that heating could improve the color of some naturally blue stones. They also determined that heating could convert some naturally brown zoisite into beautiful blue zoisite. With those discoveries there was enough blue zoisite to support a marketing effort that would introduce the gem to millions of people. Today, nearly all of the gems being sold as “tanzanite” have a blue color that has been produced or enhanced by heating in a laboratory.”
“The blue color of tanzanite is caused by small amounts of vanadium within the zoisite mineral structure. When the mineral is heated to a temperature that is high enough to change the oxidation state of vanadium, the color of the gem is changed. This color transition occurs at a temperature of about 600 degrees centigrade.”
“In 1967, when the first tanzanite had been faceted and prepared for the market, jewelers and the public knew nothing of the gem. They had never seen its blue color or heard its name. To introduce the world to tanzanite, Tiffany and Company launched a public education program. They prepared educational materials that would make consumers aware of the gem and materials to help jewelers understand it, market it and explain its characteristics to their customers. When a new, previously unknown gemstone enters the market, every person who sells and buys must be educated before transactions can occur.”
“More recently, in 2003, TanzaniteOne Mining Ltd, the leading miner of tanzanite, and a company that cuts, manufactures, wholesales and retails tanzanite gems and jewelry, established The Tanzanite Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes tanzanite. The Foundation prepares educational materials for retailers and consumers, assists with retail staff traing, and assists retailers with tanzanite promotion. The Foundation is also a participant in the Tucson Tanzanite Protocol, an organization that works to ensure that tanzanite has an ethical route to market, similar to how the Kimberly Process works to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the diamond market.”
“The price history of tanzanite has seen many sharp rises and falls. These price changes have been related to the limited number of mines and the limited geographic location of the world’s tanzanite resource. Decisions and regulations of the Tanzanian government can have an immediate impact on the availability and price of the entire world’s supply. Tanzanite does not have the price insulation enjoyed by gems that are mined in multiple countries and on different continents. Events such as floods or mining challenges also have an immediate impact upon supply and price.”
“Illegal mining and smuggling have also moved the price of tanzanite. In 2012 and 2013 large numbers of illegal miners entered the tanzanite mining areas and began to aggressively mine the easy-to-access areas. This occurred at a height of tanzaite prices. They then dumped a flood of illegal production into the market, causing a sharp decline in tanzanite prices during the following two years.”
“When prices change, commercial-grade gems usually experience the greatest price instability. These are the most abundant grades of tanzanite where price competition is highest. Top quality stones, especially those in larger sizes, are very rare. They tend to retain their value in down markets and increase in value in rising markets.”
How Much More Tanzanite Remains?
“Tanzanite is one of the top ten best-selling colored stones in today’s gem and jewelry markets. That is a surprise considering that it was only discovered in the 1960s while all of the other best-selling colored stones have been known for centuries or millenia. It has a unique blue color that grows in popularity as more people learn about it. The popularity is expected to grow as colored stones become more common purchases in developing economies.”
“At the same time, tanzanite is a rare gem. All of the known deposits are confined to a few square miles of land in northern Tanzania. It is the only gemstone with a large and rapidly growing popularity that has such a limited known supply. Some people believe that the currently-known tanzanite resource could be depleted in just a few decades.”
The question that occurs to many people is: “How much tanzanite remains?”
“That question is difficult to answer. The best data available comes from an independent study that was done in 2012, prior to TanzaiteOne’s listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. TanzaniteOne is the world’s largest producer of tanzanite and holds the rights to mine Block C, which has an area that is larger than all of the other mining blocks combined.”
“The study is based upon over 5000 meters of diamond drilling conducted at 17 sites within Block C along with mine production data and surveys. The study revealed that Block C contains indicated, inferred, and total resources of 30.6, 74.4, and 105 million carats, respectively. These values suggest a life-of-mine of about 30 years at a production of 2.7 million carats per year.
The 30-year life-of-mine applies only to TanzaniteOne’s holdings and assumes that they are successfully able to mine at the progressively deeper depths needed to recover the remaining resource. It also does not consider the resource levels in other blocks of the mining area or discoveries that might be made in Tanzania or other countries.”
“If the known tanzanite resource is all that exists worldwide then no new tanzanite will enter the market when the known deposits are depleted.”
“When most other geologic resources become in short supply the price rises. That higher price motivates producers to explore for new resource and improve their ability to completely recover remaining resources. Sometimes they rework tailings.”
“Consumers are also motivated by higher prices. Those who already own the commodity can choose to liquidate investments or bring recycled goods into the market. Those who do not own the commodity can choose to pay the higher price or seek less costly alteratives.”
“What happens when tanzanite supplies deplete remains to be seen.”
Learn About Tanzanite
“Found in just one place on earth, tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery. This blue variety of zoisite was named for Tanzania, the country where it was found, by Tiffany & Co. Because crystals show different colors depending on viewing direction, cutters can choose bluish purple or the more favored pure blue or violetish blue hue depending on how much weight they want to retain from the rough.”
“Tanzanite’s appearance is influenced greatly by its pleochroism, which is the ability of a gemstone to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions. Tanzanite can be violetish blue—similar to a sapphire color—or much more purplish. Often, both the violetish blue and purplish colors are readily visible in a fashioned stone when it is gently rocked and tilted.”
“Tanzanite is relatively new to the colored stone galaxy. As the most common story of the tanzanite mining boom goes, in 1967 a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense blue crystals weathering out of the earth in Merelani, an area of northern Tanzania. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims.”
“D’Souza hoped that he’d been shown a new sapphire deposit. Instead, the deposit contained one of the newest of the world’s gems.”
“Although it’s a newcomer to the gemstone industry, tanzanite has quickly become one of the most popular colored gemstones.”
“Within a short time, 90 more claims appeared in the same 20-square-mile area. No one was quite sure what the beautiful crystals were, but everyone wanted to lay claim to the profits they were certain to produce. The new gem would eventually be known as tanzanite, and it would, at times, rival the Big 3 in popularity.”
“Tiffany & Company recognized its potential as an international seller and made a deal to become its main distributor. Tiffany named the gem after the country it came from, and promoted it with a big publicity campaign in 1968. Almost overnight, tanzanite was popular with leading jewelry designers and other gem professionals, as well as with customers who had an eye for beautiful and unusual gems.”
“The instant popularity of this transparent blue to violet to purple gem was tied to its vivid color, high clarity, and potential for large cut stones.”
“Tanzanite.com was launched in 1996 as an extension of the 30 year family wholesale business in Tanzanite. With offices based in New York, Africa, Belgium, Israel, Thailand, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, the family has been able to maintain strong relationships with owners of Tanzanite mines as well as Tanzanite cutters from around the world.”
“The reputation of Tanzanite.com and the family behind it is one of implacable quality and reliability. We have obtained a great amount of the world’s finest quality of tanzanite throughout the years and continue to only buy the rare exquisite colors and clarities that the mines produce.”
“Although our the families main business is to sell to retail stores and fine boutiques from around the world, Tanzanite.com was formed to deal direct with the gem collector and the regular shopper who simply wants the best.”
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING:
“A deep saturated “sapphire” blue is tanzanite’s most valuable color, although some consumers favor gems with an intense violet blue hue. Exceptional tanzanites display an intense violetish blue with red flashes of pleochroic color. As with any colored gem, paler hues are more affordable.”
“Eye-visible inclusions decrease the value of tanzanite, particularly in lighter colored stones, where they’re more visible against the gem’s bodycolor. Any inclusions that might pose durability problems—such as fractures—lower tanzanite value greatly.”
“Tanzanite is available in a wide range of shapes but cushion and oval cuts are most common. Cutting orientation has a big impact on a gem’s face up color and its price. Cutting to emphasize a gem’s bluish purple color usually wastes less rough than cutting it to get a pure blue or violetish blue hue.”
“Tanzanite is available as fine, larger pieces with strong color or lighter material cut to standard sizes for use in mass market jewelry. Tanzanite color is less saturated in smaller sizes. Gems must be above 5-cts. in size to have deep, fine color.”