Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ode to Tsavorite!

Ok, so there's no actual "Ode to Tsavorite". For those who know me, they'll understand that this is for the best, as my rhyming schemes are generally atrocious. I'll leave the poetry to John Keats & Co. However, that is not to say that it is unworthy of an ode. In fact, tsavorite is deservingly becoming one of the most popular green stones out there today; proving that the market is not restricted to "the big three" as it once was.
The Nature Collection designed by Martin Katz; tsavorite and diamond earrings. Photo courtesy of

Tsavorite is the name given to grossular garnet, one of the isomorphic series (something we'll learn about in a later entry) of the larger garnet family. It was named after the national park it was found in: Tsavo, Kenya. Perhaps other gemologists will agree with me when I say that I strongly associate tsavorite and tanzanite for two reasons: Firstly, they are from neighboring localities. Also, because they are relatively new additions to the gemstone world. Though found in the late 1960s, its current boom on the market is as recent as the last decade.

Typical tsavorite rough. Photo courtesy of

Like all garnets, tsavorite belongs to the cubic system which is why we find it in these neat-looking rough shapes, typically taken from metamorphic rocks. But as the photograph illustrates, the rough is generally quite small, which is why cut stones that are over 3 carats covet such a higher price. Of course, tsavorite is beautiful enough as the primary stone in jewelry, but due to this size constraint, we see a lot of colorful pavé that utilizes this stone.

Beautiful trilliant tsavorite, 1.62 tcw. Photo courtesy of Bergamot Gems. For inquires please contact
For me, what makes tsavorite special is the unique color that it possesses. Although people describe it simply as a forest green, I find that the finest specimens are neither too dark or too lightly saturated. What you want to look for is the color that exudes a lively, vibrant appearance. The trilliant pair pictured above are a fine example of this kind of color (for pricing inquiries, please contact us). While some purists will say that there is nothing compared to the blue-green hue of a lovely emerald, I think tsavorite has its own merit and makes its own case in the color department.

Large emerald and diamond ring designed by Lorraine Schwartz. Photo courtesy of
Large tsavorite and diamond ring designed by Tiffany & Co. Photo courtesy of
Since we're on the subject of emerald, we can also compare the clarity and general stability of these two green stones. While emerald is most appreciated (after the color) for the inclusions which suggest the locality they came from, tsavorite is typically clear of almost any inclusions. Because of this, tsavorite does not generally need to be treated, unlike emerald which is routinely oil or resin-filled to improve color and clarity.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: As beautiful and as diverse as the world of gemstones is, we find numerous examples of stones that are exceptional, but high-maintenance. What is just fantastic about tsavorite is the fact that without any intervention by humans or concern about fragility, this stone is both wonderfully saturated in color, and more readily available and affordable than some other green stones. So the real question remains: When will you get your tsavorite?