Discovered in Tanzania less than 40 years ago, tanzanite is fast becoming one of the most popular gemstones available today. This modern versatile gemstone is now the new birthstone for December. Tanzanite is an exotic blue-purple stone that combines the regal purple color of a fine amethyst and the alluring blue of a sapphire. Most tanzanites mined today are often heat-treated to remove unwanted colors. This process turns dusty brown stones permanently into the mesmerizing blue-purple stones so sought after today. This change of color was stable, prompting Tiffany and Company to debut this new version of Zoisite in the 1970's - naming it Tanzanite in honor of the country where it is found in small quantities. Tanzanite is a very special and unique gemstone. World-wide it occurs only in one specific location. Its blue color which shimmers in a slightly purplish hue is magnificent indeed. Its name reminds of the world-wide unique occurrence in the east-African state of Tanzania. Africa – the name of this continent does not immediately remind us of gemstones. Nevertheless, Africa is a continent from where many splendid and beautiful stones find their way to the world markets. An example for this is Tanzanite, which was enthusiastically celebrated after its discovery in 1967 as "Gemstone of the 20th Century” The gemstone experts literally held their breaths when they were shown the first deep blue crystals mined in the Merelani Hills near Arusha in the north of Tanzania. Millions of years ago, metamorphous slates, gneiss stone and quartzite’s shaped impressive flat insular mountains on the wide planes near Mount Kilimanjaro. In the core of these unusual rises there are stored the valuable crystals. For a long time they remained hidden for the eyes of men, until one day some Massai-herdsmen passing by noticed crystals sparkling in the sun and picked them up. Today at Merelani the popular crystals are searched for in several, usually smaller mines, to some extent by means of modern methods. Generally only smaller grains are being found, but now and then the miners strike a lucky vein and produce a larger crystal – much to the pleasure of the mine-owners and the numerous Tanzanite enthusiasts everywhere in the world.