Tsavorite and Demantoid Garnet: What's the Difference?

February 07, 2019 2 min read

demantoid and tsavorite garnets

Tsavorite and demantoid garnet have many similarities. They are both from the garnet family, they are in the same color range, and they are both a 6.5-7 in hardness. So what makes these two stones so different?

Species Distinction

Though both tsavorite and demantoid are of the garnet family, they are different at the species level. Tsavorite is a grossularite garnet and demantoid is an andradite garnet.

Demantoid garnets have a unique type of inclusion called horsetails. These wisp-like inclusions start at an apex and expand outward resembling a horse's tail in the wind or an exploded firework. Generally, you cannot see these inclusions without the help of magnification, though almost every demantoid garnet will have some trace of this type of inclusion.

Tsavorites on the other hand, have very typical colored-stone inclusions. Though generally eye clean, gemologists will see needle-like inclusions, fractures, graphite platelets and fingerprints.

Demantoid garnets have a very high refractive index and dispersion level, which is higher than a diamond.  This means that when you look at a demantoid, you will see fire displayed in the gemstone through flashes of multicolored light. Demantoids are usually cut in such a way so this fire is exemplified. Cutters will fashion the gemstone with a small table and larger pavillion facets.

Tsavorite garnet is fashioned like many colored stones. Tsavorite will display white and green light back to your eye. You will not see the intensity of fire as in demantoid.

Mining Location
Demantoid garnets were first discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1868. Until 1919, at the start of communist Russia, demantoids were widely used and became popularized by Peter Carl Faberge’s jewelry. There are now deposits in Namibia, and in 2009, a deposit was found in Madagascar.

Tsavorite garnet was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967 by Charles Bridges. Tiffany & Co. marketed the gemstone in the early 70s to the public. Since its popularization, Tsavorites have been extremely valuable and difficult to find in large sizes.

Historical Significance
Because demantoid garnet was discovered much earlier than tsavorite, demantoid is often found in antique and estate jewelry. In addition, when Market Square Jewelers refurbishes an antique piece of jewelry, we will attempt to replace a gemstone with an age-appropriate match.

Love antique jewelry or unique gemstones? Demantoid might be the stone for you.

Love the vivid green of tsavorite and its cutting-edge discovery? Tsavorite may be the one!

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