242 Carat Tanzanite Tiara: The Michael Scott Collection

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart shares details of a beautiful tanzanite tiara from the Collection of Michael Scott, of Apple fame

New York: I recently came across a gem collection which is touted to be the most important private collection of jewels in the United States. It is the collection of Michael Scott, the first president of Apple Computer. While Scott really needs no introduction, his name has come up in many-a-times in the infinite biographies of Steve Jobs that flooded the market after the latter’s untimely demise. With a University Degree in Nuclear Physics, Scott went onto become the President of Apple Computer in 1977, and in the short span of his five year tenure, Apple Computer became one of the most successful companies in the United States. During this time, Scott launched the Apple II personal computer and took the company public in 1980. He left the company in 1981 after  a clash with Jobs, with millions of dollars worth of company stock.

5500 carat Star Rose Quart
The Michael Scott Gem Collection

The Michael Scott Gem Collection is known to have few rivals worldwide outside of royal families. Scott’s interest in gemstones dates to the mid 1980s. Characteristic of most seasoned collectors, he began with reading extensively on gemology to build a knowledge base. He then prepared a list of pieces he desired for his collection. A select group of brokers were entrusted with the job of going after his wish-list. The collection includes spectacular examples of all major as well as rare gemstones, and jewelry, including  antique pieces from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. One of the highlights is a 5500-carat star rose Brazilian quartz which is known to be the largest  star rose quartz in the world.

Another magnificent piece of jewelry is a tiara accented with 803 brilliant cut tsavorite garnets and 913 cut diamonds encompassing a large tanzanite weighing 242 carats.

Tiara with a 242 carat Tanzanite, 803 tsavorite garnets and 913 cut diamonds
The Michael Scott Gem Collection

Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral Zoisite (a calcium aluminium hydroxy silicate). Zoisite is naturally found in a variety of colours ranging from brown to green. Treating the mineral with heat can impart it with a brilliant blue colour, and it is blue Zoisite alone which is known as Tanzanite. The mineral was named by Tiffany & Co. after the country in which it was discovered, Tanzania. Some Tanzanite may include a purplish tinge, and is the most coveted variety of the stone, as the purple and the blue complement each other magnificently.

The geographical origin of the Tanzanite can be easily garnered from the name of the gem – the East African nation of Tanzania is the only place on Earth where this beautiful blue stone is found. How Tanzanite was created and discovered, on the other hand, is anything but simple. It is estimated that the creation of the stone began over 500 million years ago with the eruption of the volcano we now know as Mt. Kilimanjaro, which caused a shift in the physical and chemical properties of the earth around it, allowing the Zoisite crystals there to develop into Tanzanite.

Tanzanite was discovered only as recently as 1967 by Masai tribesmen tending to their cattle in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. According to legend, heat from a grass fire near Kilimanjaro turned the naturally brown Zoisite crystals into a fantastic shade of blue, and the Masai tribesmen, enthralled by the sea of blue stones they had never laid eyes on before, became the first human gatherers of Tanzanite. Even today, the areas where significant deposits of Tanzanite can be found and commercially mined comprise a mere four square kilometers near the towns of Arusha and Moshi in the Merelani Hills.

A Set of Unmounted Tanzanites (25.11 carats approx.)
Everything that Glitters, The Story by Saffronart

Tanzanite is one of the few gemstones that can only be found in a concentrated region of the world, and this unique factor makes it highly sought after. The ever changing political, social and economic conditions of Tanzania also ensure that the stone is coveted, since collectors and suppliers cannot turn to another source to acquire it. Saffronart is pleased to offer a range of unmounted and strung tanzanites in our collection, Everything that Glitters featured on The Story. A spectacular acquisition is a set of six unmounted tanzanites – two pear-shaped, two oval-shaped and two trillions, with a total weight of almost 25.11 carats. Tanzanite is believed to have calming and balancing properties and was added to the American Gem Trade Association’s list of birthstones, as the birthstone for the month of December.

Read more about the Tanzanites in this interesting article published by the Time Magazine.

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