Stuart Weitzman is world famous for his outrageous, blinged out, over-the-top, seven-figure designer shoes. So, to tie-in with December’s birthstone of the month, we present Weitzman’s “Tanzanite Heels,” a pair of evening sandals featuring 185 carats of luxurious blue-purple tanzanites and 28 carats of diamonds.
Designed in 2006 in collaboration with jewelry designer Eddie LeVian, the bejeweled silver-leather shoes with platinum heels are valued at $2 million, landing them on the Top 5 list of the "World's Most Expensive Shoes."
At first glance, the shoes look more like a royal necklace than foot apparel. A 16-carat pear-shaped tanzanite dangles from the diamond-encrusted ankle strap, which boasts alternating pear- and oval-shape tanzanites. Each was meticulously matched for color and size.
The general public got to see the “Tanzanite Heels” for the first time in January 2007 at the New York Public Library. A year before, the shoes had taken first place in the “Fashion Accessories” category of the Tanzanite Foundation’s “Celebration of Life Jewelry Design Awards.”
Tanzanite is one of the newest official birthstones. In 2002, tanzanite was added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list, joining turquoise and zircon for December. This was the first time the list had been amended since 1912.
Tanzanite, which was discovered by Maasai tribesmen in 1967, is mined deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The entire mining area is only four square kilometers wide, and it is believed that the lifespan of the mine is just 30 years. Due to its single source and limited supply, promoters of tanzanite say that the gemstone is one thousand times rarer than a diamond.
Tanzanite’s exquisite color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. The stones come in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets.