This week, we introduced several more colors to one of our favorite rings! Of the new colors was this beautiful, vibrant green stone. Many may think it is an emerald or perhaps a tourmaline- but it is actually a garnet!
Garnets come in more hues than the traditional pomegranate red! This green species of garnet is known as Tsavorite, and it is one of my very favorite gemstones! If you asked most people to name a green gemstone, most would say Emerald! Emerald is a very special stone, with rich history, and tremendous popularity today. But if I can let you in on a gemologist secret....I personally prefer tsavorite!
Both stones are lovely! And I certainly have been known to lust after some Emeralds! But if I had to chose between the two as a jeweler, gemologist, and jewelry wearer, I would pick the Tsavorite.
Tsavorite was discovered in the 1970's in Kenya, and is named Tsavorite after the Tsavo National Park. Today this special garnet is mined along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Much like Emerald, Tsavorite is rarely found in a large enough size to make nice, clean cuts stones over 2 carats.
Interestingly, Tsavorite is 200 times more rare than emerald. It also has a higher refractive index, which makes it a more "sparkly", brilliant stone. Tsavorite's hardness level on the Mohs Scale is considerably higher than that of an Emerald- making it much more suitable for everyday wear. Also, around 99% of all Emeralds on the market have undergone some sort of treatment- most likely fracture filling. Emeralds are beautiful, but highly included stones due to their formation. They are usually treated with oil or resin to minimize the look of their fissures, which improves the perceived clarity of the stone. Tsavorite on the other hand tends to form eye clean and is not treated.
So why then is Emerald more expensive than Tsavorite?? History! Emerald has always been regarded as one of the top 3 significant colored stones for a very long time. It has been coveted throughout history, and its value has remained high due to demand. Tsavorite is a newcomer to the jewelry market. With only a few decades of history, it can't compare to Emerald's centuries of lure and appeal. The rarity of Tsavorite also prevents it from being a coveted staple in the jewelry market.
There are only four mining operations for Tsavorite right now. But there is lots of potential for expanding the mining of this stone, and many investors suspect that Tsavorite may be the next Tanzanite. Tanzanite was in low demand for a while after discovery because it was hard to come by. Then Tiffany & Co. really started marketing the newly discovered gem and expanded mining operations. Now Tanzanite prices and demand are high! Until then though, this gem is the special secret of jewelers, collectors, and gemologists. Now you've been let in on it too:) All it takes is one look at this extraordinary gemstone to appreciate it's allure.