In this article we will be discussing the tsavorite, a green species of garnet. The word garnet comes from a Latin word “granatus” which means seedlike. This is due to the fact that garnet crystals in rock form have the appearance and shape of pomegranate seeds, which was a staple in the regions of the world where they were mined. It is available in a variety of colors, which include brown, orange-brown, red, pink, and green – the color of tsavorite. In fact garnet is available in every color except blue. Garnet is the birthstone for those born in the month of January and many believe that it is fine to wear any color as a birthstone.
The tsavorite garnet has a very short history since it was only discovered in the early 1970’s and first put into jewelry by Tiffany’s & Co. in the mid 70’s.
It is truly a rare gemstone and many consider it a collector’s stone due to the fact that it is found only in Kenya and Tanzania. It is believed that tsavorite derives its name due to being found in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The color is available from pale green to very intense forest green colors with the intense color mixed with bright, well cut properties being the important aspects to look for in fine quality tsavorit gemstones. It is rare to find gem quality specimens of this gemstone in sizes above two carats. Due to its beauty, durability, and clarity it is in many cases more desirable than emerald, having characteristics that are similar as beautiful.
Before cutting, gemstones go through a process known as cobbing, which consists of the removal of large fractures which are present in the rough stone. When tsavorite garnets are cobbed, they release a very distinct sulfur-like odor. The green color in tsavorite garnets is due to the presence of the mineral vanadium in the crystal while it is forming. There is no known enhancement process for tsavorites, so what you see is what you get. Although this is a fairly hard gemstone, its durability is not much more than emerald and so care should be taken when cleaning and wearing, since it will abrade easily.
Tsavorites are typically cut into round, pear, oval, and marquise shapes. They are generally used in rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets when set in jewelry, however there is no limit to what use they will have given your imagination and a quality jeweler’s ability. It is this jeweler’s opinion that tsavorites as well as all colored gemstones will be more optically appreciated when accented by very white diamonds. By doing this the intensity of the green color is brought out and sometimes magnified to bring out the beauty and elegance associated with this rare gemstone.
The cleaning method recommended for home use is a nonabrasive cleaner such as toothpaste in the absence of a professional cleaner or commercial liquid jewelry cleaner. Remember when using toothpaste to make sure everything is wet before touching it to another surface, and to rinse thoroughly with warm tohot water, being sure to stop the sink up before starting the process.