The discovery of Tsavorite in East Africa in the 1960s changed the jewelry world. Here was a gem with the color to rival the most exquisite emeralds and the clarity of the cleanest sapphires, all with the time tested durability of garnet.
Tsavorite is a unique form of garnet with a stunningly vivid green color. It is bright and lively with a high refractive index giving it excellent sparkle and scintillation. Tsavorite is also a very rare gemstone. It is uncommon to find Tsavorite in sizes larger than five carats, and most faceted stones are below two carats. By some estimates, Tsavorite is around 200 times rarer than the much better known Emerald.
Tsavorite’s rarity and beautiful green color reminds one of the other green garnet called Demantoid. Demantoid, however, is a completely different variety of garnet found primarily in Russia. Tsavorite is 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It is a green grossular garnet with a chemical make-up of CA3Al2(SiO4)3. It has a Refractive Index (RI) of 1.740 and a dispersion index of 0.028.
So how did Tsavorite come to be called Tsavorite? Its technical description as a green grossularite doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So, a proper name was definitely in order. The nomenclature of gemstones follows certain rules, and according to modern mineralogical methods, gemstones are given a name which ends in “-ite”. In honor of the Tsavo National Park where it was discovered and the Tsavo River which flows through it, the gem received the name Tsavorite. It is also less commonly referred to as Tsavolite.
Mythology and Lore
Unlike many of the other gemstones we write about, Tsavorite does not have a rich history or lore, given its recent discovery. That said, as a member of the garnet family, there is much mythology surrounding it.
Garnet has been thought of as a traveler’s stone offering protection and aid during long journeys. Garnet is also believed to aid in circulation and to protect against diseases. Tsavorite in particular is thought to provide its wearer with strength and positivity. It is also believed to help the immune system, breathing, and metabolism.
Care and Cleaning
Tsavorite is rated as “good” for everyday wear. You should avoid sudden temperature changes and never steam clean your Tsavorite Garnets. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe unless the gem has a preexisting crack or fracture. To clean Tsavorite, gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.
Tsavorite has all of the qualities you want in a gemstone: beauty, rarity, intrinsic value, and romance. With its natural, fresh green color in a variety of shades and scintillating brilliance, Tsavorite is one of the most beautiful green gemstones in the world.
It is a garnet so it is traditionally used for January’s birthstone. But, you don’t have to be born in January to enjoy such a wonderful gemstone. Its brilliance and vivacity can only truly be appreciated in person, so visit us today to see some examples of this rare and beautiful gem.