How to Tell The Difference Between Tanzanite and Sapphire

Have you heard of the gemstone tanzanite or have you ever received tanzanite jewelry? This beautiful, extremely rare gemstone and relatively new addition to the world of jewelry comes from only one place in the world – a few mines at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Africa.

tanzanite vs sapphireTanzanite jewelry, when cut and set, gleams an intense royal blue in color, and often reflects several different hues that range between blues, purples, and violets. Tanzanite pendants and engagement rings are often surrounded by a ring of small diamonds, and the silver-white of the diamonds only serves to highlight the deep, rich colors of the tanzanite stone. Tanzanite engagement rings and tanzanite and diamond rings are becoming much more popular, and tanzanite was even chosen in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association to be an additional birthstone for December.

But because of its blue coloring, many people often mistake tanzanite for sapphire – some even going so far as to call this breathtaking stone nothing more than a deep blue sapphire. However, to the trained eye the differences between these gemstones are many – and even to the average shopper, you can discover what to look for, and learn for yourself the difference between tanzanite and sapphire.

One of the reasons tanzanite might so often be mistaken for sapphire is because not so long ago, it was used as a cheaper substitute for blue sapphire – but that was before it was internationally recognized and demand for it had grown enough to highlight it in the public eye. Even now, some brick and mortar jewelry stores still place tanzanite next to sapphire, and might not even clearly label the difference. That’s why shopping online and searching specifically for tanzanite rings and jewelry can be the safest, smartest bet to find actual tanzanite for an affordable price.

One of the major differences between tanzanite and sapphire at a gemstone level is that sapphires are naturally blue. If you saw sapphire in a mine, it would be blue. But in its natural state, tanzanite stones are actually brownish-red in color. It’s only after treated with heat do the stones exhibit their true brilliant blues and deep purples.

Another difference between the two stones is that sapphire is extremely durable and often easier to wear without a surrounding setting. Tanzanite, on the other hand, is a more fragile stone, and should be worn with care. This is why it is suggested that you should never use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner on tanzanite jewelry. Yet this fragility can be safeguarded by creating a supportive setting around the stone, such as a diamond inset or the like.

And because sapphires can often be much more expensive than tanzanite, for the-first time jewelry purchaser, or someone who might be on a tighter budget but wants to give a beautiful gift nonetheless, tanzanite jewelry can be the perfect choice.

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