History & Origin


A Rare & Beautiful Creation From Africa

Five hundred and fifty years ago, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mother Nature yielded her most precious of all gems. As testimony to its rarity, tanzanite remained unknown until 1967 when it was discovered in Tanzania, at what is the still the world’s only known source.

Tanzanite is one of the most sought-after and valuable gemstones of all time. With only one known source available in the world, tanzanite is expected to be depleted within 10-12 years.

The scarcity and beauty of tanzanite have made it one of the most popular gemstones to date. Its geology is so unique that the chances of tanzanite occurring elsewhere in the world are very unlikely.

There are a number of theories as to when the first tanzanite was first discovered in Tanzania. But, the most popular and credible story is about a tailor named, Manuel de Souza, who is known for introducing the gemstone into the commercial market. During July 1967 de Souza discovered a cluster of blue gemstone near the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Before the gemstone was examined by the GIA in New York and identified by a Tanzanian government geologist named Ian McCloud as a range of the mineral zoisite, the stone was mistaken for a sapphire. The gemstone was identified a variant of the mineral zoisite by a Tanzanian government geologist named Ian McCloud, with confirmation to follow from the University of Heidelberg, the British Museum, and Harvard.

In an attempt to register his mining claims with the Tanzanian Government’s Mines & Geology Department, de Souza discovered other prospectors had already registered for zoisite mining claims before he had time to change the description on his registration application.

It was during this time that the gemstone took on the name, “Skaiblu,” which means “Sky Blue” in English. Shortly after, the 4km strip along the foothills of Kilimanjaro was covered in mines as prospective miners around the world were looking to be part of the new discovery.

Due to the influx of miners, de Souza was unable to maintain control over his mining claim. In 1971, the Tanzanian government took over the mines and in 1976 they handed it over to the State Mining Corporation. Today, a tanzanite is one of the most popular choices for a jewellery creation and remains a remarkable investment.

The gemstone is truly a mesmerising beauty you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Each Tanzanite International item contains the best gem-quality tanzanite for you to carry on from one generation to the next.

A Masai story of Tanzanite has a long and turbulent history
The Queen of Tanzanite, is an exclusive range of exceptional quality loose tanzanite stones and unique tanzanite jewellery.
Tanzanite can only be found in certain areas of the world
Tanzanite is known for its mesmerising blue colour and its ability to brighten up any outfit, day or night. The gemstone is generally found near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
We utilise the latest in cutting-edge technology
All of our tanzanite is sourced directly from the mine and is cut and polished in-house. Ourspecialised craftsmen will determine the best cut and shape for the specific tanzanite.

Located at the Clock Tower in the V&A Waterfront

Tel: 021 421 5488
WhatsApp: +27 76 180 8530
Shop G02 Ground Floor, The Clock Tower, Waterfront, Cape Town

Mon – Sun : 09:00- 21:00