Source: Tanzania, Kenya
Birthstone: December (Alternate: Turquoise, Zircon)
Tanzanite is a rare mineral and to this day, the only source of Tanzanite is in Tanzania.
This limited supply makes Tanzanite 1000 times rarer than Diamonds. Tanzanite is a newly discovered blueish-purple gemstone and the name "Tanzanite" was established by Tiffany & Co. in 1968.
Tanzanite can sometimes be mistaken for blue sapphire, when viewed from the top or front, tanzanite's hue will appear blue to violet-blue, and when viewed from the back it will appear violet to bluish-purple.
Tanzanite specimens that have a predominantly blue colour can be more expensive than purplish-blue varieties.
This is the first coloured gemstone that's sales and distribution has been controlled in the way that diamonds have been.
The natural colour of tanzanite, prior to the application of heat, is brown. Tanzanite that has not been exposed to heat in its natural state can be heat-treated to produce the deeper blue colour that is characteristic of the stone. The heat treated stone has a deep indigo-blue colour in natural sunlight, and appears violet in incandescent light.
Source: Afghanistan, Africa, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA (California, Maine), Zambia
Birthstone: October (Alternate: Opal)
The name "Tourmaline" (Tourmalin German, Turmalina Spanish) is derived from the Sinhalese (Sri Lankan) word "tura mali", meaning "stone of mixed colours." Tourmaline occurs in a wide range of colours which include blue, colourless, green, pink, yellow, red and black.
Certain varieties of tourmaline will display dichroism, reflecting and splitting visible light into different wavelengths in a prism effect.
Tourmaline colours are categorized as: "Anchorite" (colourless), "Cat's Eye" (chatoyant), "Chrome" (dark green), "Dravite" (brown), "Elbaite" (green), "Indicolite" (blue), "Paraiba" or "Neon" (vibrant blue, green), "Pink", "Rubellite" (deep red), "Schorl" (black), and "Watermelon Tourmaline" or "Bi-Colour" and "Tri-Colour Tourmaline" (usually green transition to red). Watermelon Tourmaline is known for its concentric bands of colour featuring a reddish, pink, purple, or magenta centre surrounded by a whitish zone enclosed in a olivine green "rind" area.
Some of the finest specimens of tourmaline are found in Brazil, Afghanistan then Pala, California, as well as Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Nigeria and Namibia.
Source: Brazil, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, USA
Birthstone: November (Alternate: Citrine)
The name "topaz" (Topaze French, Topas German, Topacio Spanish) is derived from the Greek word "Topazos" or "to seek," and is sometimes referred to as "precious" topaz.
During the Middle Ages the word "Topaz" was used to describe any yellow coloured gemstone, and pale-yellow topaz was periodically mistaken for transparent olivine or "Peridot" which was the Greek word for "gold stone." The term "Oriental topaz" is mistakenly associated with topaz, but is actually brownish-yellow sapphire from Sri Lanka or Thailand.
In nature, topaz occurs in a variety of colours ranging from pale yellow to a golden-honey or Sherry colour, pink, deep cognac red, or pale greyish-blue.
Pakistan is one of the few locations where natural pink topaz is found and pink topaz which was not mined in Pakistan may have been heat-treatment. In fact, many of today's popular topaz colours have been achieved by artificial.
Imperial Topaz with its distinct peach, pink, or mauve hues is perhaps the rarest topaz variety and the primary source is found in Brazil.
Blue topaz is very rare in nature, and typically it has had a combination of gamma-ray irradiation, followed by heat treatment to bring out its intense cobalt-blue colour.
The hue and intensity of blue topaz is categorized as: "London Blue" (blue-green), "Sky Blue" (light blue), "Swiss Blue" (medium to dark indigo blue), and "Maxi Blue" (deep and intense blue).
When yellow topaz is heat treated, it takes on a reddish-pink colour. These treatments are permanent and do not affect the stone's durability or hardness.
Source: Cambodia, Canada, France, India, Italy, Madagascar, Norway, Thailand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United States, Ural Mountains
Alternate Birthstone: Tanzanite
Zircon should not be confused with Cubic Zirconia which is a man-made synthetic that is not chemically similar. The name "Zircon" (Zirkon German, Circon Spanish, Zircone Italian) is derived from the Arabic word "Zarqun", meaning vermilion, and from the Persian word "Zargun", meaning golden-coloured.
Zircon occurs in a wide variety of colours which include: brown, red, yellow, green, blue, black, or colourless. Colourless Zircon can be mistaken for diamond and is a popular diamond substitute.
The most popular gemstone colour for Zircon is blue. Yellow zircon is sometimes referred to as "Hyacinth," and Sri Lanka has a clear variety of zircon that is referred to as 'Matara diamond.'
Zircon found in Western Australia is the oldest mineral found on earth, dating back as far as 4.4 billion years.
Zircon is one of the heaviest gemstones, resulting in smaller sizes (measured in milimeters) for a given carat weight. Yellow zircon can be mistaken for yellow sapphire and can be found in the canary yellow, greenish yellow, and gold colour range.
Zircon can be heat treated to alter its colour. Varying temperatures can produce colourless, blue, or yellow gems from less desirable specimens.
The resulting colour change of heat-treated zircon is permanent. Most of the red, red-orange, and/or violet-red zircon on the market has not undergone any kind of heat treatment.