Amethyst vs Tanzanite: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Amethyst vs tanzanite: how are they similar and different?

Let’s learn about some of the sought after gemstones out there decorating the face of the earth.

We’ll break down the essentials about their identities, uses, and their differences, and similarities in this article.

What Is Tanzanite? 

Tanzanite is a popular trichroic gem with a wide range of colors, from blueish and lilacs to deep blue and violets.

It was unearthed in 1960 and has only been mined and made commercially in the Manyara area of Northern Tanzania in Africa.

The name “tanzanite” was given by Tiffany &Co since northern Tanzania is home to the world’s sole commercially viable tanzanite deposit.

The jewelry company hailed the stone to be among one of the most magnificent gems discovered.

Others claim that tanzanite has overtaken Blue Sapphire as the most popular colored stone on the market in the last half-decade.

The gem’s limited geographic origin is reflected in the name.

The mines are spread out over an eight-square-mile area in the Merelani Hills, near Mount Kilimanjaro’s base and the city of Arusha. 

This gemstone reflects the traditions of Tanzania’s Masai tribe.

It is a sign of eternity and strength, and is used as a good luck charm and for protection against hardship.

Furthermore, mankind of other societies uses these gems in respective cultural rituals and the like because they are believed to carry the same effects.

How To Identify Tanzanite?

Examine the stone in natural light as well as incandescent light from a lamp.

Real tanzanite is trichroic, meaning it has three distinct colors.

Under natural light, the stone should appear blue with a hint of violet, but when moved around in incandescent light, it should flare red and pink.

Look through the stone’s side.

From the side, it should have the same color intensity as it does from the top.

Imitations, such as iolite, do not; from angles other than the top, they appear clear or even yellowish.

Using a 10X jeweler’s loupe, examine the stone.

This is necessary because tanzanite does not usually have visible flaws.

There’s a strong possibility the stone isn’t tanzanite if it has no defects when examined with a loupe.

Natural gemstones frequently have fewer faults (or none at all) than imitation or lab-created stones.

Physical properties of Tanzanite

It is distinguished by its blue color, which has a strong purple or violet tint.

Pleochroism, specific gravity, hardness, and refractive index are all characteristics of strong pleochroism.

Eye-clear and its chemical compound is Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH).

Moh’s hardness is about 6-7.

What Is Amethyst?

Amethyst is a violet, purple and dark purple gem that is found in many areas around the world.

The color of amethyst has been seen to result from the replacement of trivalent iron (Fe3+) for silicon in the structure by irradiation, in the presence of various elements with large ionic radius.

But also, to some extent, the hues of amethyst can normally occur from displacement of transition elements even though the iron concentration is low.  

Amethyst can also have one or both of the secondary colors of red and blue.

The majority of the Amethyst stone deposits are found in Brazil, North America and Uruguay where it is found and occurs in large quantities in volcanic rocks.

Small amounts of amethyst are traced in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.

The Four Peaks is the most known amethyst commercial mine in the United States, and is popular for producing amethyst with deep purple color.

How To Identify Amethyst

Look at the color of the stone.

The color of amethyst is purple or violet.

Although some gems have a slightly reddish tone, they should still be predominantly purple.

Check for flaws or anomalies.

Genuine Amethyst are slightly flawed.

Color coding should be used, and the hue will include white or blue tones in complement to purple.

A gemstone that is uniformly one shade of deep purple will be most likely a phony.

Craters and fissures in the gemstone really should be looked for.

Examine the transparency of the gem.

Transparency can also assist when determining whether or not an amethyst gem is genuine.

Amethyst is relatively eye-clean.

This is a word used to describe a product that is free of imperfections, which are elements trapped inside a gem during its development and visible to the naked eye.

The majority of a genuine amethyst’s look will be clear. It’s doubtful that we’ll see bubbles or discoloration.

Amethyst stones are very hard and are graded on a scale of 1 to 10.

The procedure of determining a gem’s hardness is inaccurate.

Nevertheless, we determine a gem’s firmness by determining if it is scratch resistant when compared to other gemstone.

Physical Properties Of Amethyst

Made of silicon dioxide, with impurities to give it color.

The most popular color is a reddish purple with a high saturation level.

Transparent to translucent.

Around a 7 on the Moh’s scale.

Similarities Between Tanzanite and Amethyst

Now that we are through the facts, let’s sum up these two stones and why people confuse them.

Tanzanite reflects a variety of colors, one of which being a purplish reflection.

Amethyst is generally purplish, (or thought to be purple), but can also come in a variety of colors.

Both these stones are pretty hard, in the 6-7 range on the Moh’s scale.

If you don’t know that there was a difference between the two stones, on paper without ever having looked at the stone, you’d be excused for confusing them.

Differences Between Tanzanite and Amethyst

When you put these stones next to each other, it would be surprising to confuse them.

Tanzanite seems to be far richer in color than amethyst, and when you look at it, the pink/red and blues that you see in the stone are pretty darn vibrant stunning.

Amethyst is beautiful, don’t get us wrong. But the trichroism that tanzanite displays gives it away quickly as something different.

When you are out rock hunting, remember something.

Amethyst can be mined anywhere throughout the world.

Amethyst is probably right in our respective backyards, regardless of where we hail from.

That’s how widespread it is. On the other hand, if we want tanzanite, we’ll need to grab our passports and travel to Africa’s eastern heartland.

Furthermore, because tanzanite is rare and amethyst is plentiful, the former is more “precious” than the latter.

But in general, if you are out digging around for stones and come across a purple crystal that you think might be amethyst or tanzanite, unless you are in Africa, you are most likely not holding tanzanite.

And if you are in a crystals stone out in the middle of nowhere, and the shop keeper is trying to sell you a piece of purple rock called tanzanite for a few bucks, it’s probably not tanzanite.

Interested in learning more about unique rocks and minerals like hag stonesstilbiteturkey fat mineral, or velvet malachite? You can also check out our blog for our latest articles.