An emerald-green variety of grossular garnet, tsavorite is one of the most popular and expensive varieties of garnet. Suitable for any type of jewelry, tsavorites can be faceted into many designs.
Clean, quality tsavorite, rough or faceted, isn’t difficult to find. Stones up to one carat are common. However, pieces over two carats are rare, and the price per carat jumps dramatically at that size. Stones with deep green, emerald-like color will command the highest prices.
For more detailed information on buying tsavorites, consult our garnet buying guide.
The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering
gemstone appraisal services.
Tsavorite (Garnet), Tanzania (4.11, 2.47, 1.25. 4.01). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.
Although named after the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, tsavorite (sometimes called tsavolite) was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967. This gemstone became popular via a marketing campaign by Tiffany & Co. in the 1970s.
Tsavorites receive their prized green color from traces of vanadium (principally) and chromium. While these gems rival emeralds in color, they also have greater dispersion and brilliance and can match their hardness, usually without inclusions. In addition, like many garnets, tsavorites make good engagement ring stones that typically don’t require protective settings.
Tsavorite from Lualenyi, Kenya has a refractive index (RI) of 1.743 and a specific gravity (SG) of 3.61 (mean). Inert in ultraviolet (UV) light, it contains a trace of chromium and a significant amount of vanadium.
Very rarely, tsavorites can show color zoning, like this rectangular step-cut bi-color specimen. 0.69 cts, 6.1 x 3.8 mm, Tanzania. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.
Tsavorite hasn’t been synthesized. However, green glass as well as green yttrium aluminium garnet (YAG), a synthetic garnet, have been used as simulants.
Normally, these gemstones don’t receive any treatments or enhancements, which makes them very desirable to collectors and enthusiasts of natural gems.
Tsavorite rough and cut set. Crystal, 3.3 x 3.2 x 1.6 cm; trilliant step-cut gem, 0.87 cts. Tsavo National Park, Kenya. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.
Commercial sources for gem-quality tsavorites include Tanzania, Kenya, and Madagascar. Small deposits also occur in Pakistan and Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.
Clean tsavorites over one carat are rare. However, in 2006, a crystal weighing 925 cts (185 g) was discovered in Tanzania. It yielded an oval, brilliant step-cut 325-ct gem, likely the largest clean specimen ever discovered.
Although generally clean, some tsavorites do contain inclusions. Gems with fluid inclusions shouldn’t be cleaned with mechanical systems or exposed to extreme heat. Instead, use warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. (This advice applies to garnets in general). Consult our gem care guide and jewelry cleaning guide for more information.