Definitions for tanzaniteˈtæn zəˌnaɪt
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A trichroic violet-blue variety of the mineral zoisite mined in Tanzania, used as a gemstone.
Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral zoisite discovered in the Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro. It is used as a gemstone. Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism, appearing alternately sapphire blue, violet and burgundy depending on crystal orientation. Tanzanite can also appear differently when viewed under alternate lighting conditions. The blues appear more evident when subjected to fluorescent light and the violet hues can be seen readily when viewed under incandescent illumination. Tanzanite in its rough state is usually a reddish brown color. It requires artificial heat treatment to 600 °C in a gemological oven to bring out the blue violet of the stone. Tanzanite is a rare gem. It is found only in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mineral was named by Tiffany & Co. after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered. Because it is relatively soft, tanzanite is most commonly set in necklaces and earrings.
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