Tsavorite is a bright green variety of grossular garnet that has a long geological history. It was first found in the East-African bush land, between Kenya and Tanzania where its mines are found in a landscape of arid grassland with bare and dry hills. This is dangerous ground with snakes and lions looking for prey and this is where Tsavo National Park is located and the history of Tsavorite began.

It was when the British geologist, Campbell R. Bridges was looking for gemstones in the mountains of north-east Tanzania in 1967 that he came across funny potato like nodules of rock.

These rocks looked fairy-like, with strange green grains and crystal fragments. On further examination, Bridges found that he had discovered green grossularite, which is a gemstone that belongs to the garnet family.

The second deposit of Tsavorite

However Bridges believed that this was not the only stream of tsavorites around, and thought that his find was part of a larger geological structure which may reach into Kenya. This is when he had started prospecting Kenya, and got lucky a second time in 1971 where he once again found tsavorite deposits.

He was given permission to mine this deposit and until 1974, tsavorites were known only to mineral specialists. It was only when Tiffany and Co had launched a marketing campaign in 1974 that the stone was made known to the world.

The reason the stone was named tsavorite was on following nomenclature rules which stated that gemstones are usually given names ending with ‘ite’. And so in honor of Tsavo National Park and the Tsavo River, the gemstone was named tsavorite. At times, the stone is also referred to as ‘tsavolite’.

Characteristics of tsavorite

It is the vivid and radiant green color of the stone that makes tsavorite so desirable. Its color range ranges from a spring like light green to an intense blue-green and a deep forest green which are all invigorating colors. In addition to this, tsavorite is also famous for its brilliance

This is a stone with a high refractive index; where its sparkling allure can be seen even through clothing. In fact, its brilliance matches the brilliance of the classics; ruby, sapphire, tanzanite and diamond. This is a gemstone that does not require any burning or oiling and is a pure, unadulterated gemstone.

Use invisible setting for tsavorite jewelry

Another feature of the tsavorite garnet is its robustness. It is nearly as hard as an emerald, with readings of about 7.5 on the Mohs scale. However it is less sensitive than the emerald – a point to remember when selecting the jewelry you want to wear.

The tsavorite gem stone does not usually crack or splinter in rough movements. Tsavorite gemstone looks best in ‘invisible setting’ tsavorite jewelry where the stones are set close together.

It is difficult to find raw crystals over 5 carats in size; so a 2 carat find is a great find. However even small stones are sparkling as they can display great luminosity in small sizes too.

Copyright 2008 Paraiba Inernational



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