In the 1500s in Tudor London, a Latin expression — rara avis — became popular. Literally meaning “rare bird” — the expression was gleaned from a phrase by the Roman poet Juvenal, “rara avis in terries nigroque simillima cygno”, or “a rare bird in the lands, very much like a black swan.” At the time, the English presumed black swans did not exist, so they used the expression to describe something that simply could not be found … like the proverbial horse of a different color.
And so it is with pink tanzanite, the rarest of the rare colors in which this normally purplish-blue gemstone can sometimes be found. In recent years, fine specimens have all but vanished from the market—except for deeply invested collectors and insiders.
Geologist/gemologist Cynthia Renee, however, was not to be deterred in her quest to find the perfect pink tanzanite. This year, the gem explorer took a trip that included visits to four gemstone mine sites in the Merelani Hills of northern Tanzania. There, on a vast plain overshadowed by Mt. Kilimanjaro, she finally found her rara avis.
The 22-karat, intensely pink, emerald-cut tanzanite took her breath away. Millions of years ago, among isolated, flat-topped ridges formed by metamorphic rocks called schists, gneisses, and quartzites, this beautiful gemstone was born, and lay waiting for discovery, faceting, and a home. This is the largest, finest pink tanzanite EVER.
And by the way, while she was in Tanzania, Renee also saw her “horse of a different color” – two friendly zebras that seemed sent as a sign from the gods. And what a sign it was.