[ tan-zuh-nahyt ]


  1. Mineralogy. a variety of zoisite valued as a gem for its purplish-blue color and strong pleochroism.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tanzanite1

1965–70; named after Tanzania, where found; -ite 1

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Example Sentences

Her jewelry sparkles with diamonds and tanzanite, the color of the vision chakra, part red, part blue.


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More About Tanzanite

What does tanzanite mean?

Tanzanite is a gemstone that’s a variety of the mineral zoisite. Its color ranges from deep blue to violent and lighter shades of purple.

Tanzanite can appear to be different colors depending on the viewing direction—a property known as pleochroism.

Tanzanite is quite rare—it’s only known to be found in one location in the world: the eastern African nation of Tanzania. For this reason, tanzanite is usually quite expensive.

It has not been synthetically replicated, but it is sometimes imitated with other gemstones, such as cubic zirconia.

Tanzanite is one of the birthstones for the month of December. It is associated with the zodiac signs Sagittarius and Capricorn. Tanzanite jewelry is a traditional gift for a 24th wedding anniversary.

Example: Tanzanite is often paired with diamonds to highlight its rich color.

Where does tanzanite come from?

The first records of the word tanzanite come from the 1960s—shortly after the time it was first discovered. It’s named after the eastern African nation of Tanzania—the only known source of tanzanite in the world. The suffix -ite is commonly used in the names of minerals, especially in minerals that are associated with a specific place.

Tanzanite is a variety of the silicate mineral zoisite. Its color is attributed to the presence of the element vanadium.

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What are some words that share a root or word element with tanzanite

What are some words that often get used in discussing tanzanite?

How is tanzanite used in real life?

Tanzanite is known for its rarity and its special color—and for only being found in Tanzania. It’s one of the December birthstones.



Try using tanzanite!

True or False?

There are known to be several tanzanite deposits throughout Africa.