Salt and Pepper Diamonds
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June 15, 2021
January’s birthstone is the beautiful and versatile garnet. For centuries garnets were thought of as occurring only in shades of red. In fact, the name garnet stems from the Latin word for pomegranate. Since the 19th century gemologists have discovered several additional species in an array of colors including purple, gold, yellow, orange, brown, and green. Tsavorite garnets are one of the green varieties of this spectacular gemstone and are thought to possess positive energy, healing, and spiritual properties. This particular stone is a personal favorite of ECD. This month’s birthstone story will focus on this rare and valuable member of the garnet family.
Tsavorite garnets have a hardness rating of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they are rather durable. Although they are not quite as hard as diamonds or sapphires, these gemstones are a great choice for most any piece of jewelry. Similar to diamonds, Tsavorite garnets have a high refractive index, along with high dispersion levels. These properties make for a stunning sparkle factor, which pairs beautifully with diamonds. Like most gemstones, cleaning with warm, soapy water and a soft brush is best. Since it is a relatively strong stone, ultrasonic cleaning can be performed if necessary, but steam cleaning is not suggested.
Tsavorites are primarily composed of calcium aluminum silicate and they get their green color from traces of vanadium and chromium. As a result of their rich color, hardness, brilliance, and dispersion, Tsavorite garnets generally do not undergo treatments or enhancements of any kind. All of the above add to their popularity, value, and collectability.
Small deposits of garnets can be found in several regions around the world, but most of today’s garnets come from Africa. Our beloved brilliant green garnet is one of many that come from the beautiful African savannas. The Tsavorite garnet was first discovered in 1967 at the Tsavo National Park, located along the borders of Kenya and Tanzania. In addition to Kenya and Tanzania, Tsavorite can also be found in Madagascar. While mined in multiple regions in Africa, the most pristine, vivid, deep green hued Tsavorite garnets are still found in Tsavo, Kenya
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