|Photo: Geology In|
An emerald is the birthstone of May babies. The gorgeous green beryl is rarer and more expensive per carat than diamonds, sapphires or rubies. Emeralds also have more inclusions than other precious or semi-precious gemstones. Unlike diamonds where clarity is prized, inclusions (in emeralds called Jardins) are accepted because natural emeralds are never clean.
If you long for a clean (free of inclusions) brilliant green stone, you might consider a radiant tsavorite garnet (Ca3Al2Si3O12) first discovered in 1967 by British gem geologist Campbell Bridges, which Tiffany and Co. began selling as jewelry in 1974. Usually when people think of garnets they visualize a cinnamon (dark red) color, which many garnets are. Yet garnets come in a variety of rarer colors. Garnets are composed of aluminum and calcium but when there are traces of 2 additional minerals, chromium and vanadium, the color is bright green and the semi-precious stone, rating a 6.5 - 7.5 on Moh's Scale of Hardness, is referred to as a tsavorite garnet. This stunning green stone, mined in Kenya (and less intense hues in Tanzania), is incredibly sparkly due to its high refractive index.
Tsavorite is less likely to shatter than emerald because it is a stone without inclusions. Sans inclusions, tsavorite can be cut into more facets to reflect light more brilliantly than an emerald. And, tsavorite is translucent in nature without requiring treatments like heat or oil.
While emeralds are unmatched in their green-blue color, tsavorites have more brilliance or life than typical emeralds. Still both gems are undeniably gorgeous in their own right.