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The gemstone discoveries in East Africa in the 1960s transformed the jewellery world: new varieties, new colours, and new variations on existing species made that decade the most exciting time in the gemstone industry in our lifetimes. But no gemstone discovered in East Africa has had more of an impact on the world gemstone market than tanzanite, a velvety blue variety of the mineral zoisite that was found for the first time in 1967 and named after the country of its birth by Tiffany & Co in New York, who introduced the gemstone to the world market in 1969. Tanzanite is the ultimate prize of a gem safari. Its rich purples and blues often have a depth comparable to the finest sapphire. Paler tanzanite has a delicate periwinkle colour like the eyes of Elizabeth Taylor. It is supremely rare, coming from only one place in the world, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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