Tsavorite is an example of the fact that even nowadays, it is still possible for new gemstones to emerge onto the market. Tsavorite is a rare member of the garnet family and a new member to the jewelry market. As it is a garnet, it is the birthstone for the month of January. Tsavorite is a rich, deep green emerald colored garnet. It was discovered in Tsavo National Park, Kenya, in 1967 by Campbell Bridges, and was introduced to the trade in the 1970's. Tiffany's Henry Platt, along with Campbell Bridges, coined the name tsavorite in 1974. Tsavorite looks similar to an emerald but is more brilliant and durable. Fine quality tsavorite stones over two carats are more rare than emerald, and in general, tsavorite only costs about one-tenth the price of an emerald. Because tsavorite is not very well known, there is not too much demand for the stone, as say, there is for an emerald, which is one of the reasons it is far less expensive. The gemstone is in demand more by collectors and connoisseurs, than by the general public.
Tsavorites are among the most expensive of all garnets. At top retail end, they can command up to $8,000 per carat, demanding the top price bracket in secondary gems, especially for those stones weighing a few carats. Stones above 20 carats can be considered world-class pieces but most are less than 3 carats. A tsavorite of over 5 carats is very rare and considered large. Tsavorite rates a 7 on the hardness scale
. It is transparent to translucent, with good luster, and displays no pleochrism. It is a mineral containing silica and the presence of vanadium and chromium
oxide is responsible for its green color.
Tsavorite looks best in daylight as incandescent light makes it look more yellow. It is usually given a round or pear shaped mix cut, or occasionally a brilliant cut. Green gemstones have been long believed to be of enormous help to one's physical and mental health. One of the earliest references in Greek writings as to the therapeutic value of green gemstones appears in the works of Theophrastus, who wrote in the third century before Christ. Green stones have been long believed to aid one's eyesight.
Tsavorite in particular has been said to enhance fertility, fortify the kidneys, and is beneficial for the membranes and skin. Emotionally, the stone has many attributes as well. It brings strength and confidence, teaches relaxation and inspires service and cooperation. Because tsavorite is a garnet, it is connected with the principle of love. It is supposed to be extremely beneficial when it comes to ensuring a good relationship with your partner. It improves clarity of perception, knowledge about love, and understanding for your partner. Tsavorites are found mainly in Kenya and Tanzania, but also in Pakistan, Canada, Sri Lanka, the former USSR, South Africa and the USA. Tsavorite should be cleaned with warm soapy water. Do not expose the stone to heat or acids.