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Tsavorite | Facts and curiosities of one of the rarest jewels

on June 24, 2024

Tsavorite garnet is one of the rarest and most coveted gemstones in the world. Its mystical forest green color is part of the reason why it has become so famous within just a few years of its discovery.

Beyond its breathtaking beauty, its history and symbolism connect Tsavorite to the magnificent and exotic green regions of East Africa.



Tsavorite was first officially introduced by the famous Kenyan-Scottish gemologist Campbell Bridges in the middle of the 20th century (1961 if we are being precise). The first find was in Zimbabwe and the second in Tanzania, neither of which were officially recognized. By then it was impossible to get legal exploitation.

It was not until 1974 that Campbell's tireless efforts led him to the first vein in Kenya, which soon came to the attention of the industry.

Commercially it was named Tsavorite after Tsavo National Park, one of Africa's largest nature reserves, located in Kenya.

"The name of this garnet not only evokes its origin but also its link to the nature"


What is Tsavorite? And what are its properties

Technically Tsavorite is a rare form of Garnet called Green Grossularia. It owes its color to the presence of Vanadium and sometimes Chromium in its chemical composition. This is a common point with Emerald.

The higher the concentration of Vanadium the darker and more intense is its green color and therefore the rarer, purer and more desirable is the stone. Its high refractoriness gives it a great luster. 

Among the other Tsavorite garnet properties, its great hardness stands out, although far below diamond or sapphires, it is enough to age perfectly in all types of settings making highly beautiful and durable pieces of jewelry.

In terms of clarity, Tsavorite is a type II gemstone in the GIA classification. It can have inclusions, although much less than other gemstones.

Tsavorite of acceptable quality is usually clean-to-the-eye and its imperfections are not noticeable unless magnification is used. This property makes its extraction more desirable.


Is Tsavorite Garnet rare?

Almost all tsavorite stones are found in the border strips dividing Kenya and Tanzania. Zimbabwe and Madagascar also mine this gem, but in smaller size and quality. This garnet is extremely rare, at least 100 times more than emerald, its main competitor in color.

As the size increases and the greenness of the stone becomes more accentuated, it becomes rarer and rarer to obtain. As far as its extraction is concerned, a rough Tsavorite of two carats or more represents only 2.4% of the annual extraction.


Tsavorite garnet price

Although mining remains constant each year, the difficult location of the few mines that exist complicates the extraction and therefore increases the tsavorite price considerably.

To define the Tsavorite Garnet value, the intensity of the green color, the number of visible inclusions and the size of the gem are taken into account. Not to mention that the demand increases gradually.


Tsavorite garnet price per carat

To get an idea, in the "ideal" conditions could cost between $1,000 and $1,900, in the 2+ carat range. For the truly rare 5+ carat pieces you can expect prices easily exceeding the $7,000 and $8,000 per carat ranges. That's how rare they are.

Current prices for Tsavorite stone are considerably higher than they were 10 years ago (Almost double for 3+ carat pieces) making this gemstone a great investment.


Tsavorite stone meaning

Tsavorite, like all garnets, is considered a stone of vibrant energy due to its intense color and brilliance. The great beauty of garnet is even described in religious texts such as the Bible and since ancient times these stones were used as medicinal and protective amulets.

A garnet was believed to be an enhancer: it was set in armor to protect higher-ranking soldiers and placed in ammunition to do more damage.

Although they are now traded more for their beauty than for their mystical powers, there remains a historical significance imprinted on it that makes each garnet a symbol of power.


Green Tsavorite meaning

The Tsavorite Garnet meaning is related to the untouched and wild nature. The striking tones of this gemstone are reminiscent of the living energies of the earth, especially to reflect fertility, health and abundance.

Beyond a spiritual sense, a Tsavorite is a perfect gift for those who love nature or have beautiful memories of greenery. A well colored gemstone is a wonder to behold and its natural tones can evoke feelings of tranquility and encourage the wearer's creativity.


Tsavorite birthstone

Did you know that there is a beautiful gemstone to represent each month? Tsavorite is the birthstone for January and May. In some cases a good colored emerald can work as a birthstone, but Tsavorite being rarer and brighter is more desirable.

Garnet is the January birthstone so a Tsavorite would be a perfect confidence for those who wish to represent a symbolic union between the two months.


Tsavorite Garnet Ring

Tsavorite garnet gemstone rings are jewelry that will not go unnoticed. The hardness of this garnet is hard enough to withstand daily wear with moderate care, and its intense color and luster make it an excellent purchase that will eventually achieve investment quality if cared for sufficiently.

The peculiar appeal of these rare gems makes even the most stylized designs, with small inlays, jewelry of unparalleled beauty.


Green Tsavorite Garnet Ring 

An extremely rare gem requires an equally special and unique setting. An Eternity Ring is the perfect way to highlight the properties of a green tsavorite stone, in a professional oval cut that maximizes its outstanding refractive capabilities for maximum brilliance.




As a symbolic gesture, a green Tsavorite ring is the ideal way to represent abundance and good fortune in the form of a gift or as a birthstone to commemorate the month of May.


Tsavorite Garnet Pendant

A symbolic stone, hard to find and beautiful like no other, it is the kind of gemstone you would always want to keep close to your heart, especially when it represents something as special as a gift or your name. For this reason, Tsavorite initial letter pendants are one of the favorites of our collection.


Tsavorite Garnet Earrings

When it comes to popular settings, Green garnet tsavorite gemstones earrings have a special place in any collection, why? They are able to enhance the natural beauty of a face and further enhance the visual impact of light eyes. Easy to combine with diamonds and any type of gold, especially white and yellow gold, giving it an unparalleled versatility.


Maintenance and hardness of Tsavorite Garnet

Tsavorite is a gemstone with a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale. This means that it is tough enough for everyday use in jewelry, as it does not scratch easily.

Its hardness is comparable to other popular gemstones such as ruby and sapphire, making it an excellent choice for rings, earrings and pendants that are worn frequently.

This characteristic makes tsavorite a durable and practical investment for jewelry lovers looking for beauty and endurance.

In terms of maintenance we can consider the following:


  • Use mild soap and warm water
  • Gentle brushing with a soft-bristled brush
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth


  • Harsh chemicals
  • Ultrasonic cleaners (due to potential inclusions)
  • Extreme temperature changes


  • Keep separate from other jewelry to prevent scratching
  • Store in a soft cloth or padded jewelry box

General care:

  • Remove when doing rough work or household chores
  • Apply cosmetics and perfumes before putting on tsavorite jewelry


Techniques for evaluating tsavorites: How to know you have a quality gem?

Gemology experts use a combination of advanced techniques and tools to evaluate the authenticity and quality of a tsavorite, such as spectroscopes, refractometers, and microscopes to analyze the gem's physical and optical properties. All of this, combined with experience, forms a comprehensive assessment.

For non-experts, there are some signs that can help recognize a genuine high-quality tsavorite. One key indicator is color, after all this is one of the most attractive green gemstones.

A quality tsavorite usually has an intense and vibrant green, similar to that of an emerald but with a brighter and more vivid tone.

High-quality tsavorites also tend to be quite clean, although some inclusions are normal and can even help distinguish them from synthetic imitations.

Another interesting detail to check in genuine tsavorites is their characteristic vitreous luster, which gives them a bright and shiny appearance when exposed to light.

For both groups, experts and non-experts, the gem's provenance and certification are crucial. In this regard, purchasing tsavorites from reliable sources, such as us at Albert Hern, is the best way to ensure their authenticity and quality.





Curiosities of tsavorite

Tsavorites are one of the most intriguing stones in the modern market, with incredible properties that make them stand out in fine jewelry while also having historical ties that make them a significant symbolic element.

To demonstrate this, here are some curiosities about tsavorite:


1. A late discovery

As we mentioned at the beginning, despite its dazzling beauty, tsavorite remained hidden from the eyes of the Western world until 1967. If we think about it carefully, this is impressive, given humanity's millennia-long interest in precious stones. Having such an impressive gem in modern jewelry is truly unique.


2. Emerald green without being emerald

Tsavorite offers an intense green color that rivals the best emeralds. However, unlike emeralds, tsavorite is harder and generally has fewer inclusions, making it more resistant and durable for use in jewelry. Additionally, its superior brilliance and dispersion give it exceptional fire and sparkle.


3. Rarity and exclusivity

The production of high-quality tsavorite is extremely limited, making it a much rarer gem than diamonds. It is estimated that for every gem-quality tsavorite extracted, approximately 10,000 similar-quality diamonds are found. This scarcity contributes to its growing value and appeal among collectors and connoisseurs.


4. An eco-friendly gem

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, tsavorite stands out as a sustainable choice, as it is generally obtained through artisanal methods with minimal environmental impact, in contrast to the large-scale mining operations of other gems. Additionally, it undergoes no artificial treatments or enhancements, keeping its natural beauty intact.


5. Surprising optical properties

Tsavorite possesses an exceptionally high refractive index for a colored stone, resulting in extraordinary brilliance and liveliness. Under different lighting conditions, it can display shades ranging from vibrant grass green to deeper, richer hues, offering a fascinating and changing visual spectacle.


6. An astonishing geological journey

The formation of tsavorite requires very specific and uncommon geological conditions. It originates in metamorphic rocks that have been subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures over millions of years. This unique process contributes to its rarity and explains why it is found in so few places around the world.


7. An uncertain but promising future

Tsavorite production faces significant challenges. Known mines of this dark green stone are limited, and exploring new deposits is costly and complex. However, the growing interest in this gem drives research and investment in its extraction, promising an exciting future for this green jewel that continues to captivate the world with its exceptional beauty and rarity.


8. The mystery of its color origin

The intense green color of tsavorite is due to the presence of vanadium and occasionally chromium in its crystalline structure. What’s fascinating is that the amount of these elements needed to produce its characteristic color is surprisingly small. Recent research suggests that concentrations as low as 0.01% vanadium can result in the vibrant green so admired by experts.

This phenomenon demonstrates nature’s incredible sensitivity and how small variations in chemical composition can have dramatic effects on a gem’s appearance.


9. A challenge for gemologists

Identifying tsavorite can be a real challenge even for experienced gemologists because its optical and chemical properties can easily be confused with other green gems like emerald, chrome diopside, or even some varieties of tourmaline.

This similarity has led to the development of advanced identification techniques, including Raman spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence. The ability to correctly distinguish tsavorite has become a highly valued skill in the gem industry.


10. Tsavorite and modern technology

Surprisingly, tsavorite not only has applications in jewelry but its unique properties have also caught the attention of the technology industry. Recent research explores the use of vanadium-rich garnets, similar to tsavorite, in the manufacturing of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, with revolutionary durability and charging speeds.


11. The "Alexandrite Effect" in some tsavorites

Although rare, some tsavorites exhibit a phenomenon known as the "Alexandrite Effect." This means that the gem can subtly but noticeably change color under different lighting conditions.

For example, a tsavorite with this effect might appear more bluish-green under natural light and take on a more yellowish tone under incandescent light. This property, highly valued in the gem world, adds an additional level of rarity and fascination to certain tsavorite pieces, making them objects of desire for specialized collectors.



  • What are some interesting facts about Tsavorite?

  1. Tsavorite is a gem from the garnet family, first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania and Kenya.
  2. It owes its name to the Tsavo area in Kenya, the primary source of this gem. What makes it unique is its intense, vibrant green color, ranging from grassy greens to deep, rich hues with a hint of blue.
  3. This stunning coloration is due to the presence of vanadium and chromium.
  4. Tsavorite is a rare gem, found only in a handful of locations worldwide, adding to its exclusivity and allure.
  • How do you identify Tsavorite?

    You can spot Tsavorite by its one-of-a-kind green hue and high luster. It's also known for its exceptional transparency with minimal inclusions. If you have access to a gemologist or gem lab, they can perform tests to confirm its identity, including spectroscopic analysis, specific gravity measurement, and refraction examination.

  • Can Tsavorite be worn daily?

    You bet! Tsavorite has a hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it durable and perfect for everyday wear in jewelry. As with any gemstone, it's always a good idea to remove your Tsavorite jewelry before intense physical activities or when there's a risk of exposure to abrasive chemicals. Proper care and maintenance will ensure your Tsavorite jewelry lasts a lifetime.

  • Are tsavorites valuable?

    Yes, tsavorites are considered valuable in the gem world. Their worth is due to their rarity, intense green color, and brilliant luster. As with any gemstone, factors like size, clarity, color saturation, and origin will influence the price. The demand for Tsavorite has been on the rise as it gains popularity among jewelry designers and collectors.

  • What color tsavorite is best?

    The best color ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, the most prized shades tend to be the intense, vibrant greens with a hint of blue. These colors are the rarest and are often sought after by collectors and gem enthusiasts. Lighter-colored tsavorites or those with yellowish tones may be less valuable but are still visually appealing and can be preferred by those who appreciate subtlety.

  • How much is a carat of Tsavorite worth?

    To get an accurate assessment of a specific tsavorite's value, consulting a trusted jeweler or gemologist is essential. The price can vary widely depending on the factors mentioned earlier. That said, high-quality tsavorite can command prices in the thousands of dollars per carat.


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