Few ever get an opportunity to go underground. Fewer get the chance to go underground in a coloured gemstone mine. And even fewer to get spend 6 years underground in a tanzanite mine.
Tanzanite is beautiful gemstone. No one can disagree. But I know of something even more beautiful. And that is tanzanite found in its 500 million year old cocoon of rock found in one place on earth. The secret is tanzanite crystals found in their natural habitat. Their shape dictated by the available space of its host rock. Their colour and clarity dictated by the available fluids at time of formation, and the consistency of the pressure and temperature during its formation.
Few even realise that tanzanite is the rarest of all minerals and crystals found in the pockets within rock. Quartz, calcite, gypsum, pyrite, and prehnite with graphite (known as associated minerals) are all more commonly found. When fist-size, clean tanzanite crystals with good colour were found, quartz like glass and perfect pyrite crystals from the size of marbles to bowling balls were typically found.
The photograph (above) shows the real treasures from within the earth. It was taken in Block C, Bravo Shaft in July 2005. A perfect pocket with tanzanite crystals in the centre, with white calcite to its left and right. The greenish brown crystals to the lower right is tanzanite. The entire pocket is lined with graphite flakes - they create the grey colour as well as reflect the light.
Take a moment to really look at every inch of the photograph.