Although the attractive green color of Tsavorite was initially thought to be associated with the presence of chromium, it is now known that vanadium causes the color and some stones contain no chromium at all. Tsavorites are relatively hard so they polish well. Like all garnets, they are singly refractive and as a result can be especially brilliant. Suitable in any kind of jewelry, tsavorites offer excellent value and utility at a price more affordable than emeralds, especially in smaller sizes. Clean stones over 10cts. in size are extremely rare and much more expensive.
Much of the recent productions has centered around Voi, Kenya but some tsavorite has also been found near Arusha, Tanzania in the block D tanzanite deposit near Meralani as well as occasional stones in the Tunduru gem gravels in southern Tanzania. It is interesting to note that since the darker material is from Kenya and the lighter colors are from Tanzania, the Kenyans insist that only the darker stones should be called tsavorites.
Many experts believe tsavorite will be the next demantoid, extinct and ultra- rare. It is often called the Rolls-Royce of greens at Cadillac prices. From an collectors perspective, tsavorite is 200 more rare than emerald, is cleaner, more brilliant, and, is not oiled or treated in any way. At 1/4 - 1/2 the price of emerald, Tsavorite offers excellent value considering its rarity. Today there are only four small mines operating in Kenya. Any stone above three carats is considered to be large and exceedingly rare. Sporadic production probably means higher prices. The tsavorite pockets are small and unpredictable and only one or two mines can be counted on to be operating. When collecting tsavorite look for bright attractive highly saturated greens, avoid over dark stones.