Tanzanite is the blue variety of the mineral zoisite, and is a relatively new gemstone, having been discovered in the 1960s in Tanzania, Africa.
Tanzanite is a pleochroic gemstone, which means different colours are visible from different angles. With tanzanite, you'll see blue, purple and pink depending on how you look at it. As with many other gemstones, the saturation of colour can depend on the cut, so you will find examples of pale lavender tanzanite right through to deep purplish blue.
Tanzanite can be brittle, so some extra care is needed when wearing and storing this precious stone. It's relatively hard-wearing but can be damaged by knocks and abrasion. We would therefore recommend you avoid wearing your tanzanite jewellery when doing sports, gardening or housework. Cleaning should be done with a mild soapy solution and a soft brush (we use an electric toothbrush), and drying with a soft cloth.
The striking violet-blue colour of tanzanite is particularly popular and makes a lovely modern alternative to turquoise for the birthstone for December.