What’s It Worth? Tanzanite’s 50-Year History

Tiffany & Company reportedly unleashed the “new” gemstone in the late 1960s, with Tiffany’s executives being quoted in 1969 as saying, “Tanzanite is the first transparent deep blue gemstone to be discovered in more than 2,000 years.”

Tiffany quickly snapped up the rights to this gemstone, in spite of the fact that most tanzanite found in the mines appears brown or brownish-gray. Only when heat treated does it reveal its often incredible blue color. Since 99 percent of all tanzanite is heat-treated, it does not suffer the degradation of price that other colored gems suffer when heat treated.

While Tiffany & Company no longer has an exclusive on tanzanite, they still sell it – but only the most magnificent examples. Tanzanite is not rare, but the larger gems sold by Tiffany, which are bigger than the norm and only yield the most exquisite shade of blue, are the only pieces they sell.

Shown here are two examples of genuine tanzanite. In the first, heating could only muster a slightly blue hue (versus that of a large stone of exceptional blue, almost sapphire color, Tiffany version). Sold by a shopping network, this ring has a retail value of $500 and fair market value of $150. The Tiffany ring, complete with the finest diamond surround, retails for $18,900 at Tiffany, which would be its current retail appraised value. It is available in our Hyde Park store for $7,500. (We sourced it from a jeweler in Chicago for slightly less.) Its condition is excellent; and yes, we take trades!

We are one of the strongest buyers of Tiffany items in the U.S. and buy anything signed Tiffany, from $50 silver chains to $100,000 lamps to $400,000 Patek Philippe Tiffany repeater watches. We are always buying.

Three former Sothebys.com associates and two art historians on staff. Call or email us if you want to deal with Tampa Bay’s leading auctioneer. We have sold the contents of a museum and a large art collection for USF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Always buying complete estates – or one item.

St. Petersburg: 1131 4th St. N. 727.896.6656.
Tampa: Hyde Park Village. 1607 W. Swann. 813.875.3935.
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