GIA GEMOLOGIST ARTICLE

How to Care for Your Tanzanite

Tanzanite is often regarded as a relatively delicate gemstone. We take a look at the best way to clean and care for it.

Antony Zagoritis

GIA Graduate Gemologist
ICA Ambassador to Kenya

  • With Proper Care your Tanzanite can be Cherished Forever.  

    Tanzanite is a relatively “soft” gemstone in comparison to say Diamond, the hardest, Sapphire or Ruby and measures 6 to 7 on the Mohs Scale.


    What this means is that Tanzanite can scratch over time, especially if worn on a daily basis or if worn when performing physical activity. Tanzanite rates “Good” on the Toughness Scale however.



    Can a Tanzanite be Worn in an Engagement Ring? 

    Though these aspects play against Tanzanite, it does not mean that it cannot be mounted and worn in all forms of jewelry.   The wearer just needs to be aware of the stones' “softness” and be cautious of rough wear and hard knocks. Heavy work such as gardening, house hold chores and trips to the gym should be avoided in your Tanzanite.

    Similarly, more protective mountings can be used to protect corners and girdle edges such as in the ring below.

     Tanzanite Engagement Ring Care.jpg

    Tanzanite & Diamond Ring Engagement Ring designed by Sheelagh Zagoritis

     


    Tanzanite Stability & Durability

    Tanzanite, though routinely heated only to change its color from a brownish color to its lovely purple/blue color, is a stable and durable stone, this heat treatment does not affect this in any way. This Article goes into depth on the subject of Tanzanite heating.  Tanzanite is resistant to every day heat, light and most common chemicals. Even so, your Tanzanite should not be exposed to sudden temperature changes or extreme heat and will corrode if exposed to very harsh chemicals such as hydrochloric acid. 

     


    How do I Clean my Tanzanite?

    Warm, soapy water is the best way to keep your Tanzanite clean, using an old soft toothbrush or such like to gently clean all around it, ensure you rinse well as the soapy water can dull the stone. Using a soft cloth can help “polish” off fingerprints etc. off the top of your stone.  

    Avoid Ultrasonic and Steam Cleaning used by jewelers to clean jewelry, as this uses high frequency vibration and high heat to clean the stones and this may affect the “cleavage” of your Tanzanite.

     Cleaning Tanzanite options.jpg

     

    Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner and Steam Cleaner - A real "No-No"

     


    Re-Polishing Tanzanite 

    The image below represents a very extreme example of scratching on a Tanzanite's table. Whilst this is an extreme example (it looks like the owner did her gardening wearing it!), this can occur in various degrees of severity. 

     Scratched Tanzanite.jpg

     

    If your Tanzanite does get scratched, it can be restored to its former glory by having it polished up again to remove scratches and dullness by a good reputable lapidary. There should be no loss of weight as polishing is remarkably “forgiving” in this regard.

    You can Read More about Gemstone Cutting and Polishing here


     

    How do I Store my Tanzanite?

    Always store your Tanzanite separately in a box, bag or pouch as this will stop it from rubbing against other items and getting scratched. Even pairs of Tanzanite earrings should be kept apart.


     

    I Have a Loose Tanzanite, Where Should I Go to Have it Set?

    As Tanzanite is soft and has cleavage, we recommend that you choose a good reputable jeweler who has gemological knowledge of the stone's structure and who has experience with working with Tanzanite. Do not use a jeweler who works exclusively with Diamonds for example. Ideally, you want to find a "bench-jeweler" who does the work onsite and is experienced in custom settings, particularly using colored stones. Here is a Members Directory of the Society of North American Goldsmiths which is a good place to start.

     

    Alternatively write to us at customjewelrydesign@lapigems.com   



ABOUT THE AUTHOR Antony Zagoritis, Bsc, GG

Antony completed his GG (Graduate Gemologist) in 1998 at the Gemological Institute of America in California after a degree a Business at the University of Bath, in England. He has extensive experience in the colored gemstone trade with over 20 years buying rough at the source. He is currently the Ambassador to Kenya for the ICA (International Colored Gemstone Association) in New York which is the worldwide body for colored gemstones.

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