How to Care for Tanzanite

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Tanzanite is a rare stone, named for the place where it was first found: Tanzania. The blue/violet stone became popular immediately and continues to experience high demand. Tanzania has been virtually mined out, but new sources have been discovered in Austria, Italy, Kenya, the United States (New Hampshire), Norway, Pakistan and South Africa. Tanzanite is soft and brittle, rating a 6.5 on the Moh's scale of hardness. It can crack easily if not cared for properly. Below are tips on how to care for this rare gem.

Things You'll Need

  • Jeweler’s polishing cloth
  • Soft cotton cloths
  • Gentle makeup sponges
  • Bottled water
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft-bristle toothbrushes
  • Ammonia
  • Jewelry storage bag
  • Waterpik® or other dental water jet

Cleaning Tanzanite

Use a jeweler’s cleaning cloth to wipe away fingerprints or mild residue on the tanzanite stone and around the mounting. If this is insufficient, move on to Step 2.

Moisten a soft cloth with tepid bottled water and use it to remove dirt on and around the stone. If that does not work, move onto Step 3.

Add a mild detergent to bottled water. Use a soft cloth or makeup sponge to disperse oils and residue on the stone’s surface. If this method is insufficient, move onto Step 4.

Use a soft toothbrush with a “hint” of non-whitening toothpaste. The bristles should work loose dirt and grime around the stone’s mounting. If this method is still insufficient, move on to Step 5.

Apply a tiny amount of ammonia to a soft toothbrush. It can get into cracks and crevices where toothpaste cannot.

Rinse the stone thoroughly after cleaning. Continue to use lukewarm water for this step as well.

General Care

Use a jeweler's polishing cloth between cleanings. This will remove mild oil and residue and bring back the natural luster.

Put tanzanite jewelry on only after applying any skin cream, makeup, hairspray or perfume. Otherwise, they can leave a residue that will dull the stone’s luster.

Remove tanzanite during strenuous activity such as exercise, gardening, housework or sports, which risks irreparably damaging the stone.

Keep tanzanite in an area with an even, mild temperature. Sudden changes in temperature can damage the stone by changing its color or causing it to crack. Color changes can range from dirty brown (resulting from too much heat) to gray or black (too much cold).

Store tanzanite in its own individual velvet bag. Store it it alone, rather than with other jewelry, to prevent damage to the fragile stone.

Tips & Warnings

  • A dental water jet such as Waterpik® makes a good cleaning device for tanzanite. Store tanzanite in dark, dry areas. Too much moisture or light may damage the stone.
  • Avoid the following when cleaning tanzanite: jewelry cleaning solution, which can cause a chemical reaction that slightly alters the stone's color; tap water, which is full of heavy minerals that can scratch the stone; any product that contains petroleum distillates; or an ultrasonic cleaner, as tanzanite has no resistance to sound and can fracture, break or lose color when hit with sound waves. Don't wear your tanzanite on extremely hot or cold days; those drastic temperature changes can damage the stone. Avoid picking up tanzanite with bare hands; your skin's natural oils can dull the stone's luster. Use tweezers, if necessary.

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