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Fine Tsavorite Garnet
|Tsavorite Garnet Ring|
Emerald has always been the rarest and most valuable of the green gemstones. But its preeminence is challenged by an even rarer gem from Africa, the chrome green tsavorite garnet. While emerald continues to be a classic gem, many gem dealers would argue that fine tsavorite is in many ways superior to all but the very finest emeralds.
Tsavorite garnet is a fairly recent discovery, first found in 1967 in northern Tanzania. It was discovered by a Scottish geologist, Campbell Bridges. Bridges traced the tsavorite deposit across the border to southern Kenya and spent the rest of his life mining tsavorite there. Tragically, he was murdered by a mob in 2009 while trying to defend encroachment on one of his claims.
The newly discovered green garnet was promoted in the 1970's by Tiffany & Co., who named it tsavorite, after Tsavo National Park in Kenya. With Tiffany's help, tsavorite became established as a rare collector's gem and a special gem for fine jewelry.
|Tsavorite 4.17 cts|
Gemologically, tsavorite is a type of grossular garnet colored by chromium or vanadium. It has a hardness of about 7 on the Mohs scale and a high refractive index (about 1.735) that is nearly the same as ruby and sapphire.
Compared to emerald, tsavorite is a more brilliant and fiery gem, with color saturation that can be matched by only the finest emeralds. Where emerald tends to have a sleepy look, due to its lower refractive index and many inclusions, fine tsavorite is relatively clean and transparent with twice the dispersion (fire) of emerald.
|Mint Tsavorite Garnet|
Unlike emerald, tsavorite is always completely natural and untreated. Because of its many surface-reaching inclusions, emerald is almost always fracture-filled with oil or resins.
For those who love emeralds, tsavorite may be given an emerald cut with large flat facets. This cut shows off the color but does not display tsavorite's full potential. When tsavorite is cut in brilliant style with many small facets it shows impressive fire and sparkle while maintaining its saturated color.
Tsavorite is generally found only in smaller sizes. Tsavorites over 2 carats are rare and fine specimens over 4 carats count as very rare. Due to its rarity and exceptional beauty, fine tsavorite has become an important collector's gem.