Tanzanian Sapphire Gems
Tanzanian sapphire gems have proven to be very popular as of recent times. Many of the sapphires from Tanzania entering the market are untreated gems which are getting rarer and pricier every year. Tanzania is best known for tanzanite and rare tsavorite garnet, but over recent years, Tanzania has become one of the most dominant sources for gem-quality sapphire. Some Tanzanian material often exhibits a color-change property, typically shifting from violet to blue. The main limitation with unheated Tanzanian sapphire gems is that they are usually available only in smaller sizes, but many new Tanzanian mining sources have revealed much larger stones, often weighing 1-2 carats or more.
The Songea region of Tanzania is also becoming one the most important sources for fine fancy colored sapphire, particularly due to high levels of magnesium. It is the magnesium which results in a wide range of fancy sapphire colors. Many of the Songea sapphires respond very well to beryllium heat enhancement, producing some stunning colors. In fact, Tanzanian Songea sapphire gems have become so popular recently, that dealers trade them under names such as 'sunset ruby', but technically, they are not rubies at all since the colors are obtained through heat treatment with beryllium. In order to be ruby, it should be naturally red. In addition to Songea region, the Tunduru area near bordering Mozambique, is also a very well-known source for its quality sapphire deposits. Although there are many active sapphire mining areas in Tanzania already, most mining is still on a small scale, which means there is still much to see from Tanzania in the upcoming years.
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