About Garnet – Tsavorite

So why is the stone called a Tsavorite when it is actually a green Grossularite Garnet? The nomenclature of gemstones follows certain rules. According to modern mineralogical methods, gemstones are given a name which ends in ‘ite’. In honor of the Tsavo National Park, with its abundance of game, and the Tsavo River which flows through it, the former president of Tiffany & Co. Henry Platt, who had followed the developments of the gemstone from the very beginning, proposed the name ‘Tsavorite’. Sometimes the term ‘Tsavolite’ is used. However, both names denote the same stone, the latter version simply having the Greek suffix ‘-lite’ (stone).

What makes Tsavorite so desirable is its vivid, radiant green. The color range of the Tsavorite includes a fresh grassy green, an intense blue-green and a deep forest green. These are all beautiful colors that invigorate the senses. However, this gemstone is also valuable on account of its great brilliance. It has, like all the other Garnets, a particularly high refractive index (1.734/44). In the old legends it was said that a garnet was a difficult thing to hide. Its sparkling light was said to remain visible even through clothing.

Unlike many other gemstones, the Tsavorite is not enhanced by heat or any other treatment. Like all the other Garnets, it is simply a piece of pure nature. Another positive characteristic is its hardness. It has almost the same hardness as the (considerably more expensive) Emerald, – approximately 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, but it is markedly more durable. A Tsavorite is not so likely to crack or splinter when it is knocked or banged. It is well suited to the popular ‘invisible setting’, in which the stones are set close by one another, a technique which ought not to be used with the more sensitive Emerald. Thanks to its great brilliance, the Tsavorite is, in this respect, a partner to match the classics: Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire.

Only in rare individual cases is a rough crystal, with clarity suitable for faceting, of over 5 carats found. So a cut Tsavorite of more than two carats is a rare and precious thing. But then, that is one of the special features of this gemstone: that it can display its great brilliance even in small sizes.

There’s something very special about this young gemstone with the very long history. With its fresh, vivid green, its good wearing qualities, great brilliance and relatively reasonable prices, it is surely one of the most convincing and honest gemstones that exist.

Tsavorite is found in only a very few locations namely, Kenya and Tanzania.