Step aside, emeralds, there’s a new green gem in town. Tsavorite is the stunning green variety of the grossular group of garnets, and this captivating gemstone, boasting a vibrant, verdant hue and mesmerizing brilliance, is quickly stealing the hearts of jewelry enthusiasts and collectors alike. These rare gems are more affordable than emeralds and are free from inclusions. If you’re considering a green stone, Tsavorite is worth exploring.
Tsavorite: A Gemstone Born of Fire and Fury
Unlike its emerald counterpart, Tsavorite (saav-oh-rite) is relatively new to the gemstone world. Discovered by British gem prospector Campbell R. Bridges in 1967 in the volcanic mountains of Tanzania, this precious stone was formed millions of years ago under immense pressure and volcanic activity. The name “tsavorite” was chosen by Bridges and Henry Platt, the president of Tiffany & Co. in reference to its initial discovery around Tsavo National Park, a wildlife preserve in the African Serengeti. This fiery origin is reflected in its stunning color, a deep, rich green that dances with light and mesmerizes the eye, and the finest Tsavorite, with the purest green hues is only found in Tsavo, Kenya making it an extremely rare gemstone.
While Tsavorite shares the emerald’s iconic green, it sets itself apart in several ways:
- Color: Tsavorite’s green is often described as purer and livelier than emerald’s, lacking the bluish tinge. It’s a true “grass green” that evokes lush landscapes and vibrant spring leaves.
- Brilliance: With a higher refractive index than emerald, tsavorite exhibits exceptional fire and sparkle, making it the undisputed champion of green gemstone brilliance.
- Durability: Tsavorite boasts a higher hardness than emerald, making it a little more resistant to scratches and chips.
Until it was discovered, there was no other stone but emerald that could offer such a rich, dark green color. Tsavorite is the green variety of the grossular group of garnets, with trace elements of vanadium or chromium providing its color, and is the highest priced garnet on the market, however these green garnets are still priced less than emeralds of similar quality. The lower, lighter color grades are relatively easy to come by up to the one carat size, but top color stones are harder to come by, especially over two carats.
Tsavorite is also remarkably bright and sparkling, more so than an emerald because its refractive index is considerably higher at 1.74 (versus emerald at 1.57), and because its dispersion of 0.028 is double that of emerald’s which is only 0.014. Tsavorite’s color can vary slightly depending on its origin, and with colors that can range from a fresh spring-green to a rich bluish-green to a deep forest-green, and though lesser known than the more famous emerald, this gem has a lot to offer.
Is Tsavorite the Perfect Gemstone for Your Jewelry Box?
Although they have about the same hardness, Tsavorite is actually more durable than emerald, is more brilliant when faceted, and also much rarer than an emerald. Maybe because it lacks the magic and antiquity of the name “emerald”, or is still new on the market, it’s in much lower demand and therefore less expensive than emeralds of comparable color.
Due to its high refractive index and dispersion levels, Tsavorite is incredibly sparkly and eye-catching, and really pops when set with diamonds, which also have a high refractive index. Tsavorite looks stunning in platinum and both white or yellow gold settings, and is available in a much wider range of cuts than emeralds including brilliants. Famous gemologists Richard Hughes and Vincent Tardieu, called it “the untamed green garnet beauty” and it’s one of the best options if you desire a green gem for your engagement ring.
If you find yourself drawn to green gemstones and are looking to create a stunning and unique engagement ring, we can help!