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Tsavorite Education

Tsavorite Overview

Tsavorite is the emerald green variety of the mineral garnet, and is one of the most popular garnet varieties in the market today. First discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, this gemstone has quickly become a widely sought-after addition to many collections. The name tsavorite is derived from the Tsavo region of Kenya, where the first commercial-grade tsavorites were first discovered. Known for its brilliant green color, tsavorite has quickly gained attention due to its striking color, excellent value, and durability and hardness.

The most important feature of tsavorite is the color. The most sought-after tsavorites have a brilliant, deep green color. However, tsavorites in other hues can also be present, such as yellow green and light green. This color is due to the presence of the trace elements vanadium and chromium in the mineral garnet. While some can easily confuse tsavorite with its cousin, green garnet, they are in fact two distinctly different gemstones. Gemologically speaking, they have different crystal chemistries. Visually, tsavorites have a much richer, deep color than green garnet. Many would compare tsavorites to the more well-known green gemstone - the emerald. While emeralds can be much darker than tsavorites, both stones can exhibit rich green colors. A major difference between the two is that tsavorites tend to be much more transparent and brilliant than emeralds. This is a major selling point for customers that are looking for an emerald-like gemstone in color, yet want a more brilliant appearance.

Tsavorites are a popular choice among customers for their excellent value. They are a rare stone, yet mostly due to their unknown status and recent discovery, they have maintained an affordable price. The faceting structure of the tsavorite crystal allows for a wider range of cutting options due to its natural brilliance, which in turn allows tsavorite to be commercially available in many different styles.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, tsavorite ranks a 7.5 out of 10, making it one of the hardest color gemstones in the world. This durability and hardness makes tsavorite an excellent choice for any type of jewelry. The popularity of tsavorite in engagement rings has also increased, likely due to the fact that tsavorite is much less resistant to breakage than emeralds.

Tsavorite Quality and Pricing Factors

The quality of a tsavorite depends on three main factors: color intensity, clarity, and cut. As expected with any gemstone, the quality is directly correlated with the price.

Color

The color of a tsavorite is the most important quality factor and the main driver of value. Generally, the most desirable color is anywhere from light green to dark green. It should be evenly distributed and highly transparent, with strong saturation. Below is GemsNY's own color grading system for tsavorite:


Clarity

There is no standardized grading system for colored gems, and it is rare to find a gemstone with no eye visible inclusions. Generally speaking, tsavorite is much clearer than other gemstones, and one should expect to find eye-clean or near eye-clean stones from any reputable seller. In the wholesale trade we evaluate tsavorite clarity using the following methodology:

(1) Holding the tsavorite face up 12 inches from the observer's eye

(2) Tilting them in various directions to visually inspect if any inclusions are visible

(3) Only imperfections viewable on the crown (top part of the gemstone) are inspected and not the pavilion (back side)

Below are the clarity gradings for tsavorites we utilize and are commonly used by most of our jeweler customers:

Grading Description
Eye Clean 100% clean to the eye, but not necessarily under magnification
Very Slightly Included Very tiny inclusions are eye visible under close inspection or when tilting the gem
Slightly Included Tiny inclusions are eye visible
Moderately Included Inclusions are eye visible
Included Significant inclusions are eye visible

Cut / Transparency

Lapidary's cut tsavorites according to the shade of the tsavorite rough material to get the desired color (the primary price driver). Darker material is cut shallower to allow more light to go through the gem, while lighter material is cut deeper to allow the tsavorite to hold in more light and increase saturation. Due to the natural brilliance of tsavorite, it can easily be found in a number of different styles. Still, cutting tsavorite is an art and requires years of experience.

Transparent gems are the most valuable and allow one to see the true richness of color. The catch-22 with transparent gems is that it is much easier to view imperfections. Finding an tsavorite transparent and eye clean is rare. Over-saturation of color leads a gem to be semi-transparent as less light is allowed to escape. Opaque gems tend to be eye clean, but may appear as black.

Carat / Measurements

The weight of a gemstone is measured in a unit called carats (cts.). There are 5 carats in 1 gram. As discussed above, a tsavorite can be cut deep or shallow to maximize the color of the sapphire. A deep cut 1 carat tsavorite will appear visually smaller than a 1 carat shallow tsavorite. For this reason, it is best to judge a tsavorite based on millimeter measurements (length and width) and not carat weight.

Click here for our Stone Size Chart which you can print to see the actual sizes of various shapes

Click here for our Stone Size Tool where you can input various measurements to see a basic rendering of centerstone sizes relative to your finger - particularly useful if you are planning to mount the gem in a ring.

Please Note: The carat weight listed on the website for pairs is the combined total weight of the two gemstones.

Origin

Tsavorites are mined in various locations around the world. All origins produce high and low quality gemstones. The origin of the tsavorites does not impact its value at the moment. However, the mines in Kenya generally have higher quality deposits.

Treatment

Currently there are no known accepted tsavorite treatments or enhancements in the industry. All tsavorites should be advertised as untreated or with no enhancements. Any treatments applied to tsavorites are not accepted by reputable jewelers and should be avoided.

Overall Grading Value (AAAAA - A)

Many local jewelers use a letter grading system to educate their customers of quality. To assist our customers to relate to the jewelers grading system, we have provided an overall grade. Please see the full grading scale and description below:

Grading % of All Tsavorite Description
AAAA (Heirloom) Top 1%

Fine quality tsavorites that are typically found at higher end boutiques. They have rich color, slightly included to eye clean clarity and tend to exhibit nice sparkle. These gems tend to appreciate most in value over time due to rarity and high demand.

...View More
AAA (Excellent) Top 10%

High quality tsavorites that are typically found in high end stores such as on 5th Avenue. They have vivid to medium color and slightly included to very slightly included eye clarity.

...View More
AA (Very Good) Top 25%

Medium to light color gems that exhibit medium sparkle. They typically have moderate to slightly included eye clarity.These gems are usually found at medium to high end jewelers.

...View More
A (Good) Top 50 to 75%

Light color gems that tend to be included. Typically found in commercial quality jewelry.

...View More

Care Instructions

Tsavorites are very easy to take care of due to their hardness and durability. To keep your tsavorite jewelry sparkling you may want to clean it to remove the unwanted dirt and residue build up. Here are a few care tips to keeping your tsavorite jewelry clean and shiny.

1) Avoid contact with make-up, harsh chemicals (i.e. chlorine and bleach), moisturizers and abrasives. Best to take jewelry off when in contact with these items. Never swim or bathe with your jewelry on. It is also best to avoid hard impact activities that may scratch or chip the tsavorite such as exercising and gardening.

2) Clean your tsavorite by pouring lukewarm water in a bowl and mixing with mild cleaning detergent. Submerge your jewelry until the dirty and residue is moistened. Then use a soft toothbrush to clean the underside of the tsavorite. Once clean, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. For extremely dirty jewelry, you may need to repeat the process.

3) Store your tsavorite jewelry individually and avoid contact with other jewelry to prevent scratching. Keep the tsavorite away from heat and direct sunlight. For every day rings (such as engagement rings), we recommend a weekly rudimentary check to ensure the center gem is not loose. Take off the ring and shake next to the ear (can also tap) and see if you hear rattling. If you do, immediately stop wearing and get tightened.

4) We highly recommend an annual maintenance on your tsavorite jewelry to have the gems tightened and jewelry professionally cleaned. This will ensure your jewelry lasts a lifetime.

Based on 47th Street in Manhattan - All of our Jewelry is Handcrafted in New York City's Diamond District

Testimonials

Dan W.- MI, US
February 27, 2020
We called and requested information and the gemologist was very helpful. The ordering process was a breeze!
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February 9, 2020
Exceptional selection of gemstones. Easy to use and filter to specific characteristics needed.
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February 2, 2020
Very detailed website and easy to use! I found the ruby I wanted effortlessly! Thanks for the help!
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January 27, 2020
The process of building my ring was so much fun. The final product looks amazing! :) I am very pleased with my overall...

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