Tsavorite, also known as tsavolite, was first discovered in Tanzania, in 1967 by Campbell R Bridges. It is part of the grossular species of garnet. It is formed by the calcium-aluminum formula Ca3AI2Si3O12 and small amounts of vanadium or chromium, which is what creates its green hue.
Mr. Bridges, a geologist and gemstone prospector from Great Britain, first uncovered an accumulation of the gem in Lemshuko, which is located in the north eastern mountains of Tanzania. The discovery site was about 9 miles from Komolo, the nearest village. These original specimens had very deep in color and were also quite translucent.The discovery intrigued gem traders, however exportation permits were not granted by the Tanzanian government.
Suspecting that this may be part of a vast geological structure stretching in Kenya, Bridges began a new search there. In 1971 his attempts were once again met with good fortune when he discovered the mineral type there. This time the government was willing to grant the necessary permits for mining. Initially, only mineral experts were aware of the gem, but in 1974, Tiffany and Co began a new marketing campaign, drawing new wide-spread appreciation.
Sadly, in August 2009 Mr. Bridges was killed when he and his son were ambushed on their property in Tsavo East National Park by a gang. The murder is thought to be linked to a long dispute regarding entry and jurisdiction over the stone mines.
Henry Platt, president of Tiffany and Co gave the gem its name, tsavorite, in tribute to the Tsavo East National Park. However, discoveries have since been made in other locations as well, such as Madagascar and Toliara (Tuléar) Province. Minor accumulations have been located in Queen Maud Land, Pakistan and Antarctica. Currently, no more deposits have been discovered.
Not frequently found in gem quality more than a carat, in 2006 tsavorite was discovered in more substantial sizes. A 925 carat crystal was found and it produced a mixed cut oval 325 carat stone, possibly the largest cut in the world. Another large crystal yielding a 120.68 carat mixed cut oval gem was also found.
The tsavorite gem was created during a changing Neoproterozoic occurrence, resulting in considerable mixing of rocks and minerals. This caused numerous inclusions to form within the majority of crystals. These unique formations make the tsavorite stone easy to recognize