Tsavorite VS Emerald – 4 Features That Set Them Apart

Looking for a vivid green gemstone for your jewelry collection ? Perhaps you’re in love with green gems and want to know what else the is, aside from the classic emerald. Your eye may have landed on tsavorite, one of the most impressively green gems after emeralds themselves. So how do they compare ? Are they are different ? What’s the price range of a tsavorite, compared to that of an emerald ?

Today we’re comparing these two beautiful gemstones in all the ways that matter. Hopefully you’ll find the answers you’re looking for right here.

tsavorite vs emerald

Tsavorite vs emerald

Emeralds are more expensive than tsavorites, and harder gemstones to begin with. They command a lot of respect while tsavorites are relatively new on the jewelry market. Both gems have a very similar green color, but emeralds tend to have a blue undertone to their green, while tsavorites are neutral or with a yellow undertone. There is also the matter of inclusions and hiding them, as emeralds are naturally quite included but are often oiled or resin-filled to mask those imperfections, while tsavorites are naturally clearer and are never treated or enhanced.

What is tsavorite ?

Tsavorite is a subtype of garnet, a form of grossular garnet that comes in a deep, vivid green color, like sunlight shining through thick jungle vines. A fitting description, seeing as tsavorite is named after Tsavo East National park in in Kenya. These garnets weren’t very popular or well known until Tiffany&Co brought them into mainstream jewelry back in 1974.

What is emerald ?

Emerald is a type of beryl, in the same family as morganite and aquamarine. This is one of the most ancient gemstones, well known to ancient Egyptians, in Latin America, and in India as sacred and precious gemstones. To this day emerald still carries immense power over people by simply being an ancient gem that was treasured and revered since antiquity.

Read also: Demantoid Garnet vs Peridot 

Now let’s take a look at tsavorites and emeralds compared, and see their key differences. We know, of course, that emeralds and tsavorites have nearly identical green colors but they do differ and we’ll touch on that in a short while.

1. Emeralds are harder gems than tsavorites

Hardness is a key factor when deciding how you’re going to wear a gemstone, and in this case emerald wins over tsavorite. Emeralds have a hardness score of 8 on the Mohs scale, while tsavorites average a 7. This means that they will both accumulate scratches over several years. but emeralds will do this far slower.

So if you’re looking for a more scratch-resistant gem, emerald it is. But, you should be mindful what emerald you get because the many inclusions in an emerald can sometimes reach the very surface of the gem, and provide weak points for it to split. There’s a difference between hardness and brittleness.

Oval-cut tsavorite pendant, with round-cut diamonds and round cut tsavorite accents in platinum. See it on Amazon.

2. Tsavorite has better clarity than emerald

Emeralds, as we’ve established, are often quite included. It’s simply in their nature and they are the only kind of beryl with that many inclusions. You can find emerald that are eye-clean but those are incredibly rare, and expensive to boot.

Tsavorite does has some inclusions as well, but far less than an emerald. It’s much easier to find a natural tsavorite with good clarity than a natural emerald with good clarity. So fi you’re looking for a somewhat large gem with good clarity tsavorite is a better option.

3. Emerald is much more expensive than tsavorite

Emeralds are far, far more expensive than tsavorites, as expected. A good clarity emerald with a vivid color sells for an average of $15,000 if it is treated for clarity. An untreated emerald of the same clarity and color can sell for $30,000 per carat, as it comes naturally clearer without any aid. That being said, it’s very rare to see an untreated emerald and thus to see one with that price tag.

Tsavorites sell for an average of $720 per carat for a bright, saturated green gem with VS clarity. Better color tsavorites with a deeper green that does not turn dark sell for over $1,000, while very light toned tsavorites sell for as little as $300 per carat.

Half-moon crescent halo emerald ring, with blue-green sapphires and white diamond pave, in 14k gold (customizable). See it on Amazon.

4. Tsavorite is not treated or enhanced, emerald usually is

Tsavorite is far less included by nature, and comes in a pleasing color anyway. So, it’s usually not treated in any way for color or clarity, such as oiling, heating, or irradiating.

Emeralds are routinely treated for clarity though, but even so they still seem to have some visible inclusions. The two most common methods of enhancing an emerald’s clarity is through oiling the gem, or coating the gem in a clear resin. The result is the same, that is the tiny, tiny fractures that reach the surface of the emerald fill up with oil or resin, and make the gem appear clearer. Both practices are common in the emerald trade, and are disclosed in the gem’s certificate.

Enhanced emeralds are usually lower in price than natural, untreated emeralds but again, the vast majority of emeralds is oiled or filled.

5. Emeralds have a green-blue hue, tsavorite is an intense green

The color of emeralds and tsavorites is very, very similar. So similar it’s very easy to confuse the two. But there is a slight difference, regarding undertones.

Emeralds have a green base with very slight blue undertones. They are a cool, minty green and the blue undertone is not obvious until you compare it with something with a yellow undertone or a neutral green.

Meanwhile tsavorites are a neutral green that can sometimes show a slight yellow undertone. This is most obvious for very light colored tsavorites.

Read also: What Gemstones Are Green ? 

Can you use tsavorite instead of emerald ?

Yes, tsavorite is a perfect substitute for emerald. The colors are very similar, at least similar enough to pass for an emerald in most people’s eyes. A step cut such as emerald or baguette can make tsavorite a very convincing emerald, as those are the traditional cuts for an emerald gemstone.

In terms of hardness the tsavorite is a bit softer but it will still hold up well in most jewelry pieces. Both emerald and tsavorite rings will scratch eventually, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much.

Is tsavorite good for an engagement ring ?

Tsavorite is a great option for an engagement ring, especially for someone who wants to shake up the status quo. Tsavorites are quite brilliant and they have a striking green color, which is very different form the usual clear diamonds on mist rings. And, tsavorites make for a great emerald alternative, in terms of affordability.

What is the best cut for a tsavorite ?

The best cut for a tsavorite is a brilliant cut of any kind, as this works very well with its relatively high refractive index. As tsavorites come in any size you like, you can opt for a large brilliant cut one, such as a 5 carat pear or a 3 carat oval to make a statement piece.