The tsavorite is a remarkable green grossular garnet, due to the fact that is more rare and clean than the emerald. Its name was given by the Tiffany president Sir Henry Platt in honor of Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
The grossular is a calcium-aluminium garnet and its name comes from the Latin word grossularia, meaning gooseberry. And the name garnet is from the Latin word granatus, which means grain.
The tsavorite was discovered in 1967 by Dr. Campbell R. Bridges, a British gem prospector and geologist, in the mountains place called Lemshuko, Tanzania. The Tanzanian government didn’t permitted the stone mining and Dr. Campbell Bridges was forced to search for it elsewhere.
Dr. Campbell Bridges, the man who discovered the tsavorite
Suspecting that the mineral deposit was just a little piece of a larger geological formation, he found the stone again, in 1971, in the neighboring Taita/Taveta district, Kenya. The Kenyan government granted him permission to mine and export the gem.
To protect himself from wild animals and thieves, Dr. Campbell Bridges was living in a tree house, at the mining site.
Dr. Campbell Bridges tree house
In 1974, the beautiful stone captures the attention of Tifanny and Co. and is promoted by them.
In 2009, Dr. Campbell Bridges and his son are attacked by bandits and the 71 years geologist passes away.
These are the structural properties of the tsavorite:
- Chemistry: Ca3Al2(SiO4)3
- Crystallography: isometric
- Hardness (Mohs): 7.0 – 7.5
- Specific Gravity: 3.55 to 3.73
- Refractive Index: 1.735 to 1.744
- Optical Character: isotropic, anomalous double refraction
- Transparency: transparent, translucent, opaque
Pictures of inclusions in the stone:
“small crystals veils” inclusion
“butterfly wing” inclusion
“apatite crystal” inclusion
Its green color is given by vanadium and chromium.
Ranging from bright yellowish green to deeper grassy greens and even slightly bluish-green shades:
Prices for tsavorite stone vary greatly according to size and quality.
1 ct. yellowish green tsavorite, poor quality – 45.83 $
1 ct. medium dark green, best quality – 770.85 $
2 ct. yellowish green tsavorite, poor quality – 127.55 $
2 ct. medium dark green, best quality – 2,145.15 $
3 ct. yellowish green tsavorite, poor quality – 245.14 $
3 ct. medium dark green, best quality – 4,122.88 $
4 ct. yellowish green tsavorite, poor quality – 398,61 $
4 ct. medium dark green, best quality – 6,704.04 $
5 ct. yellowish green tsavorite, poor quality – 587.97 $
5 ct. medium dark green, best quality – 9,888.65 $
The tsavorite main sources are Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar, but it can be found in small quantities in other places of the world as well.