Gemstones & Pearls: News
Green Light for Tsavorite
New source may bring increased supply and a higher profile
A major find of tsavorite was discovered in February at Namungo
Hill, about 100 miles from the coastal town of Lindi in southern
The find raises hope that tsavorite a grossular green
garnet could become a mainstream gemstone for jewelers.
The discovery could lead to steady supply a crucial factor
determining whether a rare gemstone such as tsavorite can prosper
in the mass market.
The new source initially attracted some 3,000 miners from
all over Tanzania to the region. "Over 100 tsavorite pits
have been dug on less than a square mile of the tsavorite reef
so far," says Dana Schorr of Schorr Marketing & Sales,
Santa Barbara, CA. Supplies from the initial find are now beginning
to reach consuming markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Gem dealers and marketing groups such as Schorr's are positioning
themselves to take advantage of tsavorite's increased profile
before the Christmas shopping season and the Tucson gem and mineral
shows in February. As a result, you're sure to hear more about
this green gem in the months ahead.
"The tsavorite reef contains pockets that yield an average
0.5 to 5 kilograms of rough," says Schorr. "These tsavorites
are quite gemmy and of exceptional pure green." Microscopic
examination revealed inclusions also typical of tsavorites from
Kenya. Fingerprint inclusions, healed fractures and graphite
platelets indicate the host rock in which the tsavorite formed.
Schorr says the tsavorite rough typically yields consistent
material suitable for calibration, such as 5mm rounds. A variety
of other sizes and shapes can be mass-produced, and some singular
large gems are available as well. Any tsavorite larger than 3
carats is considered rare.
Prices for tsavorite may drop temporarily, creating new opportunities
for retailers seeking beautiful, all-natural green gems. But
Schorr expects the price to stabilize then increase as new markets
"In a sense, the excitement has died down a bit and the
mines in Tanzania are operating just like any other mines would,"
says Daniel Assaf of Andre Assaf/The Tsavorite Factory, New York
City. "I do see a lot more material on the market, but it
has not lost its price. Because tanzanite is not as available
any more, people are paying a lot more attention to that other
East African gemstone: tsavorite."
- Schorr Marketing & Sales, Santa Barbara, CA; (805) 966-9966,
- Andre Assaf/The Tsavorite Factory, New York City; (212) 391-1155.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
||The new find in southern Tanzania is raising
tsavorite's profile. Gems are courtesy of Schorr Marketing &
Sales, Santa Barbara, CA.
|At 40X , fingerprint inclusions, asbestos fibers
and small graphite platelets can be discerned through a microscope.
Gem courtesy of Schorr Marketing & Sales, Santa Barbara,
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.