Tempting Tanzanite: A Deep Dive into the December Birthstone

With the festive month of December in full swing, it’s time to celebrate one of its trio of birthstones: tanzanite. This inky bluish-purple gem is a beautiful choice for high jewellery creations, including many that took centre stage during Haute Couture Week on Place Vendôme. Let’s explore its depths with a selection of our favourite tanzanite creations and plenty of other zoisite treasures to covet.

The tanzanite gem is a relatively new find for the gemmological world. It was discovered in 1967 on the hills of Merelani in northern Tanzania, which remains to this day the only source of tanzanite available in the world. Named after its home country by Tiffany & Co., this variety of zoisite is available in deep violet and blue colourways, with the darkest blue being the scarcest and, therefore, most valuable. Despite being relatively new on the block, it’s no surprise that this stone was one of the main characters at this year’s Paris Couture Week, with our top picks featured below…

Tiffany & Co. bracelet in gold, diamond and tanzanite from the Blue Book 2023: Out of the Blue high jewellery collection

Boucheron Once in a Blue Moon Suite

This year’s Carte Blanche collection by Boucheron‘s creative director Claire Choisne is entitled More is More and celebrates the dire need for colour, action and life after the long lockdowns that were suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps the most heritage-focused suite of the collection is the Once in a Blue Moon high jewellery suite, composed of the infamous Question Mark necklace born into the Boucheron brand in 1879, as well as the Parfum ring, inspired by the Maison’s long-standing dialogue between the art of high jewellery and fragrance. The stars of both pieces are singular tanzanite gems, with the necklace featuring a particularly rare 5.28-carat cushion tanzanite set amongst diamonds and white gold and the ring a unique 33.15-carat cabochon.

Louis Vuitton Bones Transformable Necklace

In her latest high jewellery collection, Deep Time, Louis Vuitton creative director Francesca Amfitheatrof brings us back to the origins and creation of the universe, answering the big ‘why’ behind the existence of planet Earth through exceptional one-of-a-kind pieces. In her Bones high jewellery suite, Amfitheatrof uses tanzanites to illustrate the miraculous evolution of the Earth’s geology, linking its development to life and form. The statement-making bib-style necklace is the most complex necklace ever made in Louis Vuitton’s history and features a total of 91.74 carats of emerald-cut tanzanites in white gold and platinum. The two matching bracelets have the same fluidity, with an emerald-cut tanzanite of 19.64 carats in one and five emerald-cut tanzanites of 22.40 carats in the other.

Lydia Courteille Sahara Ring

Celebrated French jewellery designer and antique specialist Lydia Courteille’s A Natalie High Jewellery collection is a collaborative work with her friend and fellow artist Natalie Shau, who, for more than 18 years, has created magnificent images inspired by each of Courteille’s high jewellery collections. The A Natalie collection is unique in that the entire repertoire of jewels is limited to ten unique cocktail rings, each one different from the next. Each piece is decorated with a micro-enamel painting by Shau encircled with gems. The Caravan ring takes its name from a collection inspired by Courteille’s travel to Tassili in Algeria, where the jeweller was moved by the indigo blues of the clothes and turbans worn by the Touaregs men in the Sahara Desert. To bring this vivid colour into the piece, Courteille chose a selection of seven tanzanites, totalling 14.18 carats, set intermittently with yellow sapphires.

Lydia Courteille Caravan ring in gold, enamel, yellow sapphire and tanzanite from the A Natalie collection

Mikimoto School of Fish Swimming Elegantly in the Sea Suite

Mikimoto’s latest high jewellery collection, Praise to the Sea, is an ode to the brand’s founding gem, the pearl, as well as the deep blue waters from which it was birthed. The collection’s Fish Swimming Elegantly in the Sea suite is brought to life with woven pearl strands and blue-to-dark-green gemstones, notably tanzanites, that evoke a school of fish swimming through a marine landscape. Elsewhere, the Murex brooch brings this mysterious and unfamiliar tropical sea snail to our attention. There’s a textural difference between the outside of the structure and the inside; the shell is sculpted in diamonds, whilst the interior is soft and flowing with sapphires and an impressive 15.40-carat Cabochon tanzanite.

Pomellato Giardini Verticali Earrings

Each high jewellery suite in the Ode to Milan collection praises and commends the artistic, fashion-forward city of Milan. The Giardini Verticali earrings celebrate the modern architecture of the city, creating precious renditions of the two buildings of the Bosco Verticale residential complex in the Porta Nuova district. Here, creative director Vincenzo Castaldo chose to create a cascade of 52 magnetic green tourmalines combined with six violet-blue tanzanites to recreate the green foliage growing across the exterior of both buildings, as well as the blue windows hit by the day’s sunlight. This journey through Milan’s contemporary urban landscape continues in the Nudo Triennale ring, with a 3-carat princess-cut diamond and vivid purple-blue tanzanite. Finally, the Castello earrings and matching ring, set with a 16-carat sugarloaf diamond-cut tanzanite, conjure the neo-medieval architecture of the old city of Milan.

Tiffany & Co. Out of the Blue Jellyfish Brooch

 In her first Blue Book collection for Tiffany & Co, Chief Artistic Officer of jewellery and high jewellery Nathalie Verdeille chose to honour iconic designer Jean Schlumberger's love of the sea and all its creatures. The brand chose to release the collection in two stages, the first of which happened this summer. One of our absolute favourite designs from the summer Blue Book release is undoubtedly the Jellyfish brooch, which mimics the shape, movement and milky tones of this secretive creature. To create the dome of the animal’s head, Verdeille set 77 tanzanite cabochons, totalling over 17 carats, interspersed with luminous moonstones and diamonds to replicate the way water interacts with its opalescent body.

Tiffany & Co. Jellyfish brooch in gold, tanzanite, moonstone and diamonds from the Blue Book 2023: Into the Blue high jewellery collection

While the tanzanite gem may have been discovered later in history, famous jewellers aren’t wasting any time creating extraordinary luxury creations from them. Below are a few other tanzanite designs to tempt your jewellery cravings. Which one will you wear this December?

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