Unlike many well-known gemstones that have been in use for centuries, Tanzanite is discovered recently in northern Tanzania in 20th century.
While tending livestock, a Masai tribesman stumbled upon exceptionally transparent, intense violet-to-blue crystals in Merelani hills, northern Tanzania. He notified a local fortune hunter named Manuel d'Souza, who promptly registered claims with the government to begin mining.
D’Souza hoped for a new sapphire deposit but instead, the deposit contained one of the most exciting gem discoveries, vibrant blue variety of zoisite. Attracted to the beautiful crystals, more and more miners rush for the mining claims.
Tiffany & Co recognized its potential to rival even the popular Sapphire, quickly agreed to become its main distributor. Tiffany named the gem after the country it came from, thus it is now known as Tanzanite. They promoted it with a big publicity campaign in 1968. Due to its vivid color, high clarity, and potential for large cut stones, Tanzanite instantly became well-known to the gems world
An independent study from 2012 suggests that Tanzanite deposits may deplete in as soon as 30 years or so. Tanzanite may not have the long history of other gemstones, but with such limited supplies and rapidly growing popularity, it is highly prized for its rare beauty.