March 2020 Newsletter: Rare Tsavorite Garnet

Tsavorite, the spectacular green garnet from East Africa, is the rarest of all the garnets. Discovered only 50 years ago, it has already challenged emerald as the finest of the green gemstones.

Campbell Bridges, a Scottish geologist, first found chrome green garnet in 1967 in northern Tanzania. Bridges traced the 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 made famous 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 stone for fine jewelry.

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.

Tsavorite Garnet pendant in 18k yellow gold
2.37 ct Tsavorite Garnet
in 18k Yellow Gold Pendant

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. Tsavorite is also completely untreated, while most emeralds are fracture-filled with oil or resin.

The typical Tsavorite color is a rich chrome green with a medium to dark tone. The green tends to be quite pure, though some Tsavorites have a blue secondary hue that is akin to an emerald-green. Occasionally Tsavorite is found in a lighter mint green color that is very attractive. Tsavorite looks stunning when set in either white gold or yellow gold.

Tsavorite is generally found only in smaller sizes. Tsavorites over 2 carats are very rare and fine specimens over 4 carats count as exceptionally rare. Due to its rarity and exceptional beauty, fine Tsavorite has become an important collector's gem.

See our collection of Fine Tsavorite Garnet



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature some superb Tsavorite Garnets from our collection in a variety of styles and shapes. Click on any gem for details.

2.16 ct Tsavorite Garnet from Tanzania
A superb Tsavorite Garnet oval over 2 carats! Wonderful open color with excellent brilliance. Perfectly sized for a special ring for someone special. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

2.14 ct Tsavorite Garnet from Kenya

A fiery gem Tsavorite pear with a lovely medium green color. A bright, well cut gemstone that will sparkle in any setting, sure to impress. This stone will make a gorgeous ring or pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.
4.46 ct Mint Garnet from Kenya

A lovely mint garnet in a pastel blue-green. The superb clarity and precision portuguese cut make this a dazzling gem with impressive fire. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

2.78 ct Tsavorite Garnet and Burma Ruby Set

A unique suite of a fine loupe clean Tsavorite Garnet with a Burma Ruby and Diamond. The emerald green tsavorite is 2.31 cts while the Ruby is .36 ct and the Diamond is .11 ct.  A perfect suite for a unique pendant. Or one earring if you are so inclined. Guaranteed natural.


2.37 ct Matched Pair of Tsavorite Garnets from East Africa

A rare matched pair of Tsavorite Garnet marquises! Top chrome green color, clean and well-matched. These fine Tsavorites will make an exquisite pair of earrings. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

4.32 ct Tsavorite Garnet Cushion from Kenya

An outstanding Tsavorite Garnet cushion from Kenya over 4.3 carats! Fine Tsavorites in the 4 to 5 carat size are extremely rare, and this beautiful gem is truly the best of the best -- wonderful brilliance with a vivid green with a blue secondary hue. This is beautiful crystal, very clean and precision cut. This fine gemstone will set up beautifully in your jewelry design and will be an important addition to any collection. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video


News from AJS and the Gems World

Tanzanite Promotion -- 20% off on all the Tanzanites in our Collection

Tiffany & Co. called it "the loveliest blue gemstone discovered in over 2,000 years." Now you can acquire a beautiful Tanzanite at an unusually great price! Offer ends March 31st.

Use this discount code at checkout:  TANZ20

Oval Tanzanite Tanzanite Pear Tanzanite Cushion
20% off on all the Fine Tanzanites in our Collection

See our collection of Fine Natural Tanzanites

Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

Thanks for the great article on the rare Garnets, they seem to come in almost every colour. I was just wondering, how many different Garnet varieties are there altogether?  SR, UK

The Garnet group is comprised of a variety minerals with a similar crystal structure and related checmical composition. The main Garnet series are Pyrope, Almandite, Spessartite, Grossularite, Andradite and Uvarovite. There are also mixed members within the series.

>The different series vary according to chemical composition. For example, Almandite is an iron aluminum silicate while Spessartite is a manganese aluminum silicate and Grossularite is a calcium aluminum silicate.

Tsavorite is a member of the Grossularite series, which also includes Hessonite (brown-red) and Leuco (colorless). Demantoid Garnet belongs to the Andradite series. Rhodolite is an example of a mixed member, usually in the proportion of 2 parts Pyrope to 1 part Almandite. Malaia Garnet is a Pyrope-Spessartite mix while Mali Garnet is a Grossularite-Andradite mix.

Because of the mixed members, it is not really possible to say exactly how many Garnet varieties there are altogether. The recently discovered Royal Purple Garnet from Mozambique, for example, was analyzed by GIA as 48.8-59.5% Pyrope, 37.9-47.6% Almandite, 2.0-3.5% Grossularite and 0.5-0.6% Spessartite.


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All the best in gems,

Ron, May & and Rung