World Record for Largest Cut Tanzanite Set at Museum

Do you know the name of the spectacular violet-blue gemstone that is found in only one place in the world? 
Answer: Tanzanite
Tanzanite was discovered in the northern region of Tanzania in 1967, by a Maasai Tribesman, who stumbled upon it by accident. It wasn’t long before miners moved in and began unearthing the gem, but it was renowned retailer Tiffany & Co., that made it famous. In 1968, realizing the market potential for this new gem, Tiffany & Co. made arrangements to be the main distributor of tanzanite. The retailer launched tanzanite with a huge marketing and publicity blitz that made it an immediate sensation.
One of tanzanite’s most interesting attributes is that it is pleochroic, which means that when you hold a tanzanite and move it around, you see three colors  — blue, purple and yellow, or brown.The stones are generally cut to bring out either the blue or purple tones of the gem, which are often heated to remove the yellow and brown hues.
Tanzanite crystal.
Several years ago, gemstone carver Naomi Sarna visited the tanzanite mines in Tanzania to select a piece of rough to carve for an international competition. At the time the Tanzanian government did not allow tanzanite larger than one gram to be exported. In fact, to get a large enough piece of rough tanzanite, Sarna had to start carving at the mine, working with a flashlight, in a rubble strewn room, finishing it when she returned to her studio.
The result was L’Heure Bleu sculpture, which won a First-Place Spectrum Award for carving from the American Gem Trade Association
Partially carved L'Heure Bleu tanzanite.
L'Heure Bleu tanzanite being weighed. Photo by Shawn Linehan.
On Saturday, March 9, 2024 a Guinness World Records™ was set at the Museum by L’Heure Bleu. It was verified as the world’s largest cut tanzanite – at 703.4 carats – by two independent witnesses and a Guinness adjudicator.
The expert witnesses, Jessie English of J.S. English Appraisals and Madeline Sanders of Oregon Estate Jewelry, weighed L’Heure Bleu on two separate scales. They then examined the tanzanite and performed tests to make sure it was not another material, such as glass. After these tasks were completed, the Guinness adjudicator verified and announced the results to the crowd that was present for the event. 
Expert witness Jessie English examining L'Heure Bleu tanzanite. Photo by Shawn Linehan.
Naomi Sarna presented with Guinness World Records Achievement for Largest Cut Tanzanite by Guinness Adjudicator. Photo by Shawn Linehan.
Touched by the community and the poverty she witnessed while teaching the Maasai women how to make jewelry from tanzanite, Sarna announced that profits from the sale of the L’Heure Bleu carving would go to the Maasai to provide eye care for the community through the world recognized Casey Eye Institute of Portland, Oregon. 
Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals
Translate »