Tsavorite: The Unparalleled Radiance of Nature’s Green Jewel

Tsavorite: The Unparalleled Radiance of Nature’s Green Jewel

Delve into the allure of Tsavorite, an exceptional jewel in the garnet family, radiating a captivating emerald glow that remains unmatched by its verdant peers. Venture further to unveil the rich tapestry behind this phenomenal gem.

While Tsavorite may have only recently graced the global limelight, its inception is as ancient as time itself. Formed over 2 billion years ago, its genesis predates the majestic steps of the dinosaurs and even the awe-inspiring rise of Mount Kilimanjaro.

A pair of tsavorite studs worn with our detachable mini diamond jackets.

A pair of tsavorite studs worn with our detachable mini diamond jackets.

Unveiling the Enigma: Tsavorite

Garnets, traditionally associated with deep, fervent reds, offer a spectrum of colours that surprise and delight—from fiery oranges to majestic purples. Yet, standing out amongst this vibrant palette is the Tsavorite, the rarest and most enchanting green garnet. This mesmerising shade of green is enriched by trace elements, predominantly vanadium and chromium.

Venture into the fascinating realm of Tsavorites, and you’ll be greeted with a spectrum of greens—from lively grassy hues to opulent shades reminiscent of emeralds. Their radiant sparkle, often likened to the verdant expanses of their namesake park, has bewitched both jewellery aficionados and discerning collectors. Boasting a durability on par with sapphires, Tsavorites are not only visually stunning but also remarkably resilient, making them an astute selection for those in the know.

The Birth and Journey of Tsavorite

In the untouched expanse of wild beauty near the Tanzanian border, the whispers of Tsavorites began to echo, revealing their mysteries to the world.

The late 1960s saw Campbell Bridges, a geologist and modern-day explorer, embark on a journey that would redefine the world of gemstones. Deep within the confines of Tsavo National Park, Kenya, he stumbled upon a concealed cache of the planet’s most elusive garnets. Thus, the splendid Tsavorite emerged. These radiant emerald-green jewels were christened after the very land that nurtured them.

Intriguingly, despite being named after Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, Tsavorite’s debut was in Tanzania in 1967. It was only in the 1970s, thanks to a masterful marketing strategy by Tiffany & Co., that Tsavorites began to shimmer in the spotlight, capturing the hearts of gem enthusiasts globally. This ingenious campaign sparked a worldwide intrigue. Today, these gemstones stand as a tribute to both Africa’s geological marvels and the relentless spirit of humanity.

Tsavorites, they’re a spectacular pair for Opals!

Tsavorites, they’re a spectacular pair for Opals!

Tsavorites: The Crown Jewel in High-End Jewellery

Since their debut, Tsavorites have woven a spellbinding narrative in the realm of luxury jewellery. In 1974, The New York Times, in collaboration with Tiffany & Co., unveiled the captivating story of Tsavorite. Accompanied by an evocative image of Campbell Bridges alongside a majestic giraffe set against the Kenyan backdrop, the gem was lauded as being “far more durable and far less expensive than emeralds.” This revelation marked the dawn of an era where the luminous green of Tsavorites became emblematic of elegance and luxury.

British jeweller Glenn Spiro presented a masterpiece – a titanium butterfly ring of unmatched beauty, which was graciously donated to the V&A Museum in London by global music icon, Beyoncé. This magnificent piece features titanium wings, meticulously set with a plethora of Tsavorites. Spiro’s innovative craftsmanship is evident as he ingeniously embeds hundreds of Tsavorites into titanium, skilfully heat-treating the metal to achieve a harmonious green hue, mirroring the gemstones.

Yet, the pièce de résistance in the world of Tsavorites is the “Lion of Merelani”. A breathtaking showcase of the gem’s grandeur, this colossal stone, housed by the Smithsonian Institution, stands as a testament to nature’s unparalleled artistry. Tipping the scales at a staggering 137.82 carats, this gem is celebrated for its intense and exceptionally rare shade of green, reminiscent of Africa’s verdant landscapes. The “Lion of Merelani” is more than just a stone; it’s a masterpiece, a fragment of Earth’s age-old tale, and a testament to the hidden wonders that lie beneath our world’s crust.

Mineralogist Jeff Post holds the Lion of Merelani gem

Mineralogist Jeff Post holds the Lion of Merelani gem.

At Calla Lily, Tsavorites are a cherished muse. Esteemed designers and craftsmen globally continue to sculpt iconic pieces that accentuate the unmatched allure and adaptability of these garnets. Gracing rings, pendants, and elaborate brooches, Tsavorites consistently evoke wonder and reverence, ensuring their enduring legacy of sophistication and ageless charm.

Deciphering the Unique Traits of Tsavorite

To accurately identify a Tsavorite gemstone, one must approach it with a blend of technical acumen and keen observation.
Tsavorites boast an impressive hardness, scoring 7.5 on the Mohs scale. This ensures they are not only strikingly beautiful but also robust, standing up well to the rigours of daily use. Their durability, combined with their radiant green sheen, positions Tsavorites as a prime choice for jewellery intended for frequent wear.

Diving deeper into their optical attributes, Tsavorites shine with unparalleled brilliance. They have a refractive index that oscillates between 1.734 and 1.759, endowing them with a unique ability to manipulate light. This results in a dazzling array of colours dancing within the gem, a phenomenon termed as dispersion, which is emblematic of Tsavorite’s captivating allure.

Further enhancing their enigma, Tsavorites often house distinctive inclusions, termed “horsetail”. These resemble fine, feathery tendrils and are a consequence of the presence of vanadium, the trace element responsible for the gem’s iconic green shade. Such inclusions, akin to nature’s very own autograph, elevate Tsavorites to a realm of gems that exude unparalleled charm and individuality.

Calla Lily’s designer assembling a remarkable bespoke Tsavorite necklace.

Calla Lily’s designer assembling a remarkable bespoke Tsavorite necklace.

Emerald vs. Tsavorite: A Gemstone Showdown

Emeralds, with their storied history and iconic status, often overshadow other green gemstones. However, Tsavorites emerge as formidable contenders, standing tall with their distinct attributes and undeniable allure.

One of the most compelling advantages of Tsavorites is their relative affordability, especially when considering their typically inclusion-free nature. Their vibrant colour, combined with their robustness, has led esteemed gemologists like Richard Hughes and Vincent Pardieu to christen them as ‘the untamed green garnet beauty.’

In terms of optical properties, Tsavorites outshine emeralds with a higher refractive index and almost double the dispersion, resulting in unparalleled luminosity. Their resilience is also noteworthy, as evidenced by their impressive rating on the Mohs scale. Clarity is another domain where Tsavorites excel; they often present a clear, unblemished appearance, making them a favourite for those who cherish purity in gemstones.

Over the decades, the value of Tsavorite garnets has seen a steady ascent, mirroring the appreciation trajectory of renowned art pieces. While their price tag might raise eyebrows, it’s still considerably more pocket-friendly than emeralds, offering a blend of premium quality and refreshing aesthetics.

Our Bespoke Tsavorite necklace

Our bespoke Tsavorite necklace.

When it comes to colour, both gems have their unique palettes. While emeralds lean towards a green with bluish undertones, Tsavorites present a pure green, occasionally veering towards yellowish hues. Another point of distinction lies in treatments. Tsavorites are typically unaltered, retaining their natural beauty. In contrast, emeralds often undergo clarity enhancements, such as oiling or resin applications. While these treatments are standard and accepted in the emerald industry, they further set the two gemstones apart.

In the grand tapestry of gemstones, both emeralds and Tsavorites have their unique threads, weaving stories of beauty, history, and desirability.

The Global Footprint of Tsavorites

Tanzania emerges as a leading source of Tsavorites, with its abundant deposits playing a pivotal role in shaping the international Tsavorite landscape. Adjacently, Kenya, another gem of East Africa, is home to significant reserves of this radiant green garnet. The mineral-laden terrains of Madagascar have also gifted the world with these verdant treasures.

While the African continent remains the epicentre of Tsavorite mining, there are other notable contributors. Pakistan, though a lesser-known player, has its share in the Tsavorite market. In a surprising twist, the icy expanse of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica has revealed modest Tsavorite deposits, adding an intriguing chapter to the gem’s narrative.

The widespread geographical distribution of Tsavorites, spanning from the warm heart of Africa to the icy realms of Antarctica, accentuates their rarity and amplifies their esteemed position in the gemstone pantheon.

Art deco inspired customised earrings featuring Tsavorites and Sapphires.

Art deco inspired customised earrings featuring Tsavorites and Sapphires.

Evaluating the Value of Tsavorite

As the crown jewel among garnets, Tsavorite’s value is unsurprisingly on the higher end of the spectrum. The limited mining locations, set amidst challenging terrains, further amplify its rarity, making it a prized possession in the gemstone market.

Emeralds, with their iconic green hue, often become the benchmark for Tsavorite comparisons. Although distinct in mineral composition, a Tsavorite that mirrors the deep green of an emerald is especially sought after. When assessing its value, the ideal Tsavorite showcases a rich green, devoid of yellow undertones, striking the perfect balance in colour intensity.

The valuation of Tsavorites hinges on the classic four Cs: colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight. While lighter stones up to one carat are relatively more common, premium-quality Tsavorites exceeding two carats, free of inclusions, are a rarity and fetch a premium. The price range is vast, with more accessible pieces priced between SG$400 to SG$1900 per carat. In contrast, the crème de la crème of Tsavorites can command SG$7000 plus per carat. It’s worth noting that size matters; larger stones are rarer, with the majority of Tsavorites weighing under three carats.

An exquisite custom made ring with a majesticTsavorite

An exquisite custom made ring with a majestic Tsavorite.

Final Thoughts: The Timeless Allure of Tsavorite

Tsavorite, with its mesmerising green brilliance, has carved a niche for itself in the world of luxury gemstones. Its unparalleled clarity, especially when contrasted with the Emerald, and its vibrant, untainted green shades make it a gemstone of choice for discerning collectors and jewellery aficionados.

The jewellery industry, while still warming up to its splendour, is unanimous in its belief that Tsavorite’s star is on the rise. This gem encapsulates everything a connoisseur could desire: unparalleled beauty, a touch of rarity, tangible value, and a story that resonates with the heart. Its lush green, combined with its sparkling allure, firmly places Tsavorite among the elite green gemstones of the world.

While it proudly represents those born in January, Tsavorite’s charm is universal, not bound by months or zodiacs. Its vibrant spirit is best appreciated up close, beckoning all to delve into its enchanting beauty. More than just a visual treat, Tsavorites are a bridge to our Earth’s rich tapestry of geological wonders.

For those eager to experience this gem’s magic firsthand, we extend a warm invitation to our Calla Lily atelier in the heart of Singapore. Here, you can marvel at our curated collection and explore bespoke design possibilities that truly do justice to this magnificent stone.