Tsavorite – The World’s Rarest Garnet

 This month we focus on Tsavorite; a relatively new gemstone in terms of market exposure, but with an extremely old geological history. The rocks in which  Tsavorite formed were first laid down over 2 billion years ago, thus making it older than Mt.Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

 The beautiful garnets’ home is the East African bush-land along the Kenya-Tanzania border in an area of barren, lion infested, and raw wilderness.  This  region has a history of volcanic activity and due to the volatile geological conditions under which it forms.

 Tsavorite was discovered by British geologist Campbell R. Bridges in 1967 in Tanzania and, about three years later, in Kenya. It was named by Harry Platt  of Tiffany & Co (New York) after the Tsavo game reserve in Kenya.  Indeed to this day, even though Tsavorites are found in other locations including  Tanzania, the very finest Tsavorite with the purest green hues are still only found in the Tsavo District of Kenya.

 Tsavorite is only found in relatively small sizes. Stones over 2.5 carats are considered very rare and valuable. The Smithsonian Gem Collection’s prize  piece is just 7 carats. The largest, cleanest Tsavorite on record is a 325.14-carat top-color beauty found near the Block B Tanzanite mines near Arusha,  Tanzania. It valued at over $2 million.

 Out of the two green varieties of garnets, i.e. Tsavorite and Emerald; Tsavorite is arguably the more important. Tsavorite brings greater competition  especially since it is less included, rarely treated and is more durable.  Emerald on the other hand is routinely oiled and glass filled.

 Tsavorite has earned its place as one of the world’s finest colored gemstones. Its high refractive index and dispersion levels translate into wonderful  brilliance; its durability and purity of its hues have attracted collectors and jewelry lovers alike. The romance of its origins and the fact that it formed even  before dinosaurs trod the earth make it a unique and exciting gemstone.


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