In 1967 a Maasai tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu showed a mature ruby prospector Manuel de Souza his find, blue-violet crystal thought to be a sapphire. The crystals had if fact been collected by the Maasai for many years and they thought the stone would give them health, wealth and longer life. There are legends that say lighting bolts hitting the ground turned turned stones into these shimmering crystals.
(I find this interesting as the stone is always said to have been discovered by Manuel de Souza - wonder how Ali Juuyawatu feels about that)
Tanzanite on Wikapedia
Manuel de Souza was a tailor by trade partaking in his interest of prospecting for rubies. Here is his interesting story He showed samples to John Saul, an M.I.T. geologist, and the stones ended up being shown to Henry Platt, vice-president of Tiffany & Co New York.
Tanzanite was discovered in the Mererani Hills of Manyara region in North Tanzania. Tanania on Trip Adviser , Naming a gemstone has certain rules, modern mineralogical methods suggest gemstones should end in "ite" and since the stone's discovery was in Tanzania, Henry Platt named them Tanzanite. The region is just a few miles away from a later and just as fascinating discovery of Tsavorite found in Tsavo again named by Henry Platt (genius I thought) See Tsavorite Information & Links
This website had a great local feel and will give you an insight
Interesting fact about TanzaniteIn 2001 it was ranked the 2nd most popular coloured gemstone in the USA. Sapphire still holding the number one position.
Highly fashionable and sought after the stone has outsold all other gemstone sales other than sapphire.
It is said to be a thousand times rarer than diamond and with the mine rumored to run out by 2025 any purchase of good quality stones may be worth the investment.
In 2002 it was named the December birthstone this and added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list.
The Mawenzi a 16,839 ct discovery Read This Report From Bloomberg
Legends: The stone does not have the history of many gemstones on the market today so legends are related to the Maasai
Maasai women that have given birth wear tanzanite to give a healthy and positive life to the child. In recent years is is adapting the assoiciation as The Birthstone.
The mines are said to run out of stones by 2030 meaning buyers over the next 15 years will be the last to purchase new mined stones.
There is no doubt that Tanzanite is a remarkable stone and has a great deal of future in the gemstone market. A great investment for our children and grandchildren. One of the greatest things about the stone is mined according to ethical principles. The Tanzanite Foundation is industry supported to ensure that most of the profits go back to the Masai people to improve their community and support their traditional way of life.
Mining in the Masai regions have paid for schools, transport links, water, hospital or clinic facilities. The Masai are a 2000 strong tribe with 2 cattle for every one person.
Article written by Richard Soper, CEO BMG Jewellery