New Find Increases Tsavorite's Profile

August 4, 1999

New Find Increases Tsavorite's Profile

A major new find of tsavorite in Tanzania will allow retailers to buy the rare, natural green gemstone at lower prices.

Gold prospectors found the tsavroite reef in the East African country this year, and the find has attracted some 3,000 independent miners since, says Dana Schorr of Schorr Marketing & Sales, Santa Barbara, CA, who is marketing the material. The Tanzanian government so far identified 107 pits containing tsavorite, known gemologically as green grossular garnet. The reef contains pockets that yield an average of 0.5 to 5 kilograms of clean, exceptionally green rough. The material typically produces 5mm rounds and smaller, as well as a variety of other sizes and shapes, Schorr says.

Because tsavorite is so rare, it has been pigeon-holed as a collector gem, so even the new find faces a fairly limited market. "Some of the many miners who descended on the site are now returning to other more lucrative gem sites," says Schorr. "World demand is too low for the quantities that are being produced." Prices for tsavorite will drop temporarily, he says, then stabilize and increase as new markets for it are developed.

- by Robert Weldon