The tsavorite is a fairly new gem, especially compared to other green jewels like the emerald and peridot. It was discovered in 1967 and was officially introduced to the jewelry industry in the year 1974. One of the reasons for its increasing popularity among gemstone connoisseurs and collectors alike is its rarity.
Like tanzanite, the tsavorite too can only be found in one place on earth – Africa. The primary sources include mines present in Kenya's Taita and the Arusha region in Tanzania. As a matter of fact, this gem is named after the Tsavo National Park.
When it comes to appearance, most people are quick to compare it to lush-green emeralds. And while there's certainly a close resemblance, the tsavorite, in reality, happens to be an expensive variety of grossular garnet. Its limited availability, along with eye-catching brilliance and spectacular color, makes it one of the most desirable, emerging gemstones of the present time.
Unlike some of the other garnet varieties that have existed for centuries, the tsavorite is still reasonably young. This is why the symbolism associated with this gem revolves around the intense green hue it's blessed with.
As most of us are aware, this particular color has long been considered the trademark of nature – one that represents abundance and rebirth. Therefore tsavorite has also been associated with prosperity and the revival of one's inner self. It is believed to not just look great but also refresh the eyes and the senses.
While none of these symbolisms are backed by any scientific evidence, they certainly add to this beautiful gemstone's overall appeal.
Hardness & Strength
According to the Mohs scale of hardness, 1 signifies an extremely malleable mineral (talc) while 10 represents remarkable toughness (diamond). On this tool, the tsavorite has a rating of 7 to 7.5, which indicates considerable durability. So while it isn't exceptionally hard, it's not fragile either.
Therefore, tsavorite can be worn and enjoyed in various jewelry, albeit with some care and precaution.
The glorious green color of the tsavorite happens to be devoid of any artificial treatments. So unlike many other popular gemstones that have to undergo different types of procedures to improve their color/appearance, tsavorites typically only need to be cut and polished.
What's more, lab-created or man-made versions of this gem is not available either. The majority of the tsavorites available in the market today are completely untreated and unenhanced.
Quality and Grading
An excellent quality tsavorite displays a rich green color that is intense without being too dark or cloudy. Vanadium (and sometimes trace elements of chromium) is responsible for its eye-catching hue. When choosing this gem, avoid stones that appear pale in color or have a yellow undertone. Only opt for vibrant green tsavorites.
Like the emerald, it's normal for the tsavorite to have flaws/inclusions. Being a type 2 gemstone, it's not unusual for this jewel to have impurities and inclusions that look like tiny feathers and tiny pieces of crystal. But remember that when it comes to clarity, tsavorites that have flaws visible to the naked eye must be avoided entirely. Only opt for those stones that do not have any visible surface defects.
This particular feature plays a vital role in helping disperse light better, which increases the gem's brilliance. Fortunately, the tsavorite has a high refractive index, and cuts/shapes that best radiate its beauty and gleam include the oval, cushion, emerald-cut, and trillion.
However, you must opt for the one that best suits your preference.
It's not easy to find this gem in large sizes. That said, you can still enjoy the beauty of the tsavorite with stones weighing up to 3 carats.
When it comes to picking this gem, remember that the quality should be given more preference than the carat weight. This is because during the gem cutting process, waste is avoided, and the focus is on trying to retain as much rough gemstone weight as possible. So you may end up with a tsavorite that has a higher carat weight, but lower quality.
Based on color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, tsavorites can be graded into the following categories.
In terms of quality, these are the top 1% of the tsavorites available. They exhibit a vivid and deep green hue and have very slight inclusions.
These tsavorites are high on brilliance and radiate an intense green hue. Slight inclusions are present on the stones.
This category features tsavorites that have a medium green hue and noticeable inclusions.
These entry level tsavorites are light green and are characterized by apparent inclusions.
With a rating of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, the beautiful tsavorite can be considered relatively durable and safe for everyday wear. But do keep in mind that it's normal for most stones to have superficial flaws or inclusions, typically in gaseous, liquid, or solid form.
Make a note of the below-mentioned points to keep this gem safe from unnecessary damage and maintain its overall brilliance.
- Ultrasonic and steam cleaning must be strictly avoided. These methods involve the use of vibrations and heat, respectively, which may weaken the gem's structure and ultimately cause internal fractures.
- Harsh detergents, bleach, and cosmetics can cause irreparable damage over some time. So consciously make an effort to keep your tsavorite jewelry away from them.
- Do consider getting your tsavorite jewelry cleaned by a professional at least once every year. Alternatively, you could try to DIY using an ultra-mild soap water solution, along with gentle scrubbing. Make sure to thoroughly rinse off any residue with clean water, and dry the piece with a soft cloth.
- Stronger/tougher gems, such as the diamond, ruby, and sapphire, can cause scratches to other jewels like the tsavorite. To avoid this, store the pieces separately and safely in a fabric-lined jewelry box or a soft pouch.