What is Tsavorite?

Basically Tsavorite is green grossularite, which is the calcium rich member of the Garnet family. Chemically, this gemstone is a calcium aluminium silicate coloured by traces of chromium and/or vanadium oxide. If there is a yellowish hue to the green, this would indicate the presence of iron oxide.

Extracted Tsavorite pocket from tunnel number 2 at the Scorpion Mine.

Tsavorite is one of the exclusive gemstones that is totally natural. It is not heated, oiled, fracture-filled or irradiated to enhance colour or clarity. With Tsavorite, what you see is what you get!

Tsavorite is a very beautiful green which can range from a fresh spring-green through a rich bluish-green to a deep forest-green. Of all the valuable green gemstones, Tsavorite is the truest green. Second, a well-cut Tsavorite is also remarkably bright and sparkling, unlike the sleepier emerald. This is caused by two key factors. Firstly, the refractive index of Tsavorite is considerably higher at 1.74 than that of emerald at 1.57. Secondly, Tsavorite’s dispersion of 0.028 is double that of emerald’s which is only 0.014. Tsavorite’s far greater brilliance is an important factor when set with diamonds.

Another distinct advantage that Tsavorite enjoys over emerald is that, although they are about the same hardness, 7.25 to 7.5 on Moh’s Scale, Tsavorite is tougher, and more durable. This is important not only to the setter, but to the customer who likes to wear beautiful jewelry as much as possible. Tsavorite is also at least a thousand times rarer than emerald, especially in sizes over 3 carats.

Exceptional 5.81 carat Tsavorite oval.

It is apparent that Tsavorite has clearly superior intrinsic properties to emerald, although at present it sells for a fraction of the price of an equivalent quality emerald. That is due to thousands of years of romancing emerald and a lack of public awareness of the relatively rare exquisite Tsavorite.

In terms of colour, the most valuable hues of Tsavorite are pure green or rich forest green or when there is a ‘blue’ overtone. A yellowish overtone is less desirable. The middle tones, i.e. medium and medium-dark should be the most valuable with an over-light or over-dark tone being of less value. This variety of green garnet was named Tsavorite in honor of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, by Henry B. (Harry) Platt, former President of Tiffany & Company and Campbell Bridges. When first introduced to Tsavorite, Harry Platt was asked to comment on it as a gemstone, he said, “Tsavorite is everything that a fine gemstone should be, and then some.”