Tsavorite (sometimes called tsavolite) is the green-colored variety of grossular garnet. First discovered in Tanzania in 1967, the gem became popular via a marketing campaign by Tiffany & Co. in the 1970s. With emerald-like color, tsavorite is one of the most popular and expensive varieties of garnet. This gemstone can be faceted into many designs and can be used in rings, pendants, necklaces, and earrings.
Clean, quality tsavorite, rough or faceted, is not difficult to find. However, pieces over two carats are rare, and the price per carat jumps at that size. Stones up to one carat are common.
The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.
|Is a Variety of||Grossular|
|Refractive Index||1.72 – 1.744|
|Colors||Yellow green, green, deep green|
|Luster||Greasy to vitreous|
|Hardness||7 – 7.5|
|Specific Gravity||3.55 – 3.73|
|Formula||Ca3Al2Si3O12 + V, Cr|
|Etymology||Named after Tsavo National Park, Kenya.|
|Occurrence||Grossular garnets occur in metamorphosed, impure calcareous rocks, especially contact zones; also in schists and serpentines.|
|Inclusions||Fluids, asbestos fibers, rows of negative crystals.|
Tsavorite receives its prized green color from traces of vanadium (principally) and chromium. Although these gemstones have color that rivals emeralds, they have a higher dispersion and greater brilliance than emeralds and can match their hardness, usually without inclusions. Tsavorites generally do not require protective jewelry settings.
These gemstones do not normally receive any treatments or enhancements, which makes them very desirable to collectors and enthusiasts of natural gems.
Commercial sources in Tanzania, Kenya, and Madagascar. Small deposits have been found in Pakistan and Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
Clean gems over one carat are rare. However, in 2006, a tsavorite crystal weighing 925 cts (185 g) was discovered in Tanzania. It yielded an oval, brilliant step-cut 325-ct gem. This is likely the largest clean specimen ever discovered.
Gems with fluid inclusions should not be cleaned with mechanical systems or exposed to extreme heat. The use of warm water, detergent, and a soft brush is the recommended cleaning method for all garnets. Consult our gem care guide and jewelry cleaning guide for more information.