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Tsavorite Garnet: 8 Things you didn’t know about the Treasure of East Africa

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Hidden among the mountains of northeast Tanzania nestled in the Tsavo National Park, a brilliant green gemstone remained hidden for millennia.

Its still-young life in the eyes of jewelry crafters and gem specialists everywhere captures intrigue and imagination alike. What is it about this brilliant green beauty that makes it so special? Come along with me, and we’ll shed some light on the Tsavorite Garnet!

1. It was discovered in 1967...and again in 1971.

British geologist Campbell R. Bridges was hunting for gems in Tanzania when he found brilliant green grains and crystals he later discovered were grossularite of the garnet family.Upon further digging (no pun intended), Bridges found the strata containing the tsavorite garnet stretched across East Africa, hidden under earth and sea for millions of years.

Campbell found the gem again in Kenya four years later, protecting the deposits of precious stones by keeping watch in a treehouse and entrusting the safety of the haul to a pet python.

Finally, in 1974, Tiffany & Co. launched a promotion campaign, spreading the word of the gorgeous garnet’s discovery and catapulting the tsavorite into the gemstone industry spotlight.

2.Its colours are many.

Though it’s the deep, intense Emerald Green that is most desirable to gemstone professionals and enthusiasts, the tsavorite has many shades. Tsavorites can be a bright yellow green, to its more desirable full-on green and a deep blue green.

The deep blue-green tsavorite is unique in that garnets are found in virtually every other colour variety except for pure blue.

3. It’s said to be a stone of many powers.

A garnet is thought to promote self confidence, compassion and success in business. It’s long been a symbol of travelers; it’s said that Noah’s Ark of the Bible was host to a garnet lantern to bring the massive ship successfully through the Great Flood.

The tsavorite garnet is said to have separate positive properties. It gives the wearer strength, positive feelings and helps the immune system flush toxins out of one’s system.

Its green color connects it to the Anahata, or the heart Chakra of Hindu beliefs, which relates to decision making, love and compassion.

Furthermore, in Chinese Feng Shui, the tsavorite garnet has “wood energy,” which stimulates growth.

In ancient Greek culture, the garnets were believed to help the eyes.

4. It is a birthstone in two months.

Traditionally, the garnet is the birthstone of those born in January. However, due to the rich green colour of the tsavorite garnet, it can be used as an alternate to the emerald, which is the traditional birthstone of May.

Garnets are appropriate gifts on second and sixth wedding anniversaries as well.

5. It fits yellow and white metals beautifully.

The tsavorite’s rich green colour is complimentary and often paired with white and yellow. Dior’s “Dentelle Opale d’Orient” bracelet mixed tsavorite with white diamonds, sapphires and topazes.

6. The largest tsavorite garnet is…

…a whopping 325.13 carats, first displayed at the Tucson Gem Show in 2007. It is still considered the largest, cleanest tsavorite garnet.

The stone, valued at more than $2 million, was found near Arusha, Tanzania. The uncut stone weighed 185 grams.

7. Handle with care.

It goes without saying, but fine jewelry and the gemstones therein require special care; the tsavorite garnet is no different.

Tsavorites should be stored away from other gemstones to prevent scratching, and wearers should put away the tsavorite jewelry before intense exercise or before cleaning using harsh chemicals. Protection from hard blows is a must, or else the stones may be damaged.

8. MVG (Most Valuable Garnet)

Though the general public isn’t so much clamoring for more tsavorite garnets, that doesn’t stop collectors and gem enthusiasts from paying pretty pennies for these green beauties.

Tsavorites are typically the most expensive garnets on the market. The highest quality retail tsavorites can demand up to $8,000 per carat. Most stones are less than three carats; a 5-carat tsavorite gem, for example, would be considered very large and exceedingly rare, whereas stones 20 carats and bigger are considered “world-class.”

To find high-quality gems like tsavorite, tanzanite, peridot and much, much more, you needn’t look any further than Happy Gems. Our discerning experts conduct rigorous tests and quality checks on every stone from our trusted suppliers all over the world. We’ve established rapports and good business relationships with sources in Jaipur, Burma, Africa and beyond, and we want to start a business relationship with YOU!