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Tsavorite Buyer's Guide
 

Tsavorite is the name given to the rich green variety of grossular garnet. The gem was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967 by Campbell Bridges. In 1970, Bridges also discovered gem tsavorite in Kenya’s Taita/Taveta district. The name “tsavorite” was coined in 1974 by Campbell Bridges and Tiffany’s Henry Platt and is derived from Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, which lies adjacent to rich deposits of the gem.

 
Color

While the color of tsavorite never equals that of the finest emerald, an emerald-green is the ideal. The color should be as intense as possible, without being overly dark or yellowish green. The color of tsavorite is believed to be due to vanadium, at times with a trace of chromium.

 

Lighting

Tsavorite garnet generally looks best under daylight. Incandescent light makes it appear slightly more yellowish green.

Clarity

In terms of clarity, tsavorite is relatively clean. Thus when buying one should expect eye-clean or near-eye-clean stones.

Shape & Cut

In the market, tsavorites are found in a variety of shapes and cutting styles. Ovals and cushions are the most common, but rounds are also seen, as are other shapes, such as emerald cuts, trillions, etc. Cabochon-cut tsavorites are not often seen.

Stone Sizes

Tsavorite is rare in faceted stones above 7–8 cts. Fine tsavorites above 20 carats can be considered world-class pieces. Most stones tend to be less than 3 cts.

Sources

The original locality for tsavorite was Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, but today important deposits of gem tsavorite have also been found in Tanzania’s Lindi Province.

 
Properties of Tsavorite Garnet (a variety of grossular garnet)

Composition

Hardness (Mohs)

Specific Gravity

Refractive Index

Crystal System

Colors

Pleochroism

Dispersion

Phenomena

Handling

Ca3Al2(SiO4)3

7 to 7.5

3.60–3.68

1.740; Singly refractive

Cubic

Light to deep green

None

0.028

None

Ultrasonic: generally safe, but risky if the gem contains liquid inclusions
Steamer: not safe
The best way to care for tsavorite garnet is to clean it with warm, soapy water. Avoid exposing it to heat or acids.

Generally none

No

Enhancements

Synthetic available?

 
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