Tsavorite is the name of the world's most recently discovered gemstone, and for the past two years mining operations have been gathering pace at the site where it was first found in Taita District, kenya.
MV & CU African craftsman removes stone and other impurities form gem (2 shots)
SV PAN Doep trench with miners working in bottom of it
TV Miner carrying bucket of rocks from trench
MV & CU Rocks and debris thrown on to mechanical sieve with workers sorting through rocks (3 shots)
CU Miner's hand sieving small rocks
CU Craftsman removing fine impurites from gem (3 shots)
MCU Stones on bench
CU Gem stones being polished (3 shots)
CU Gems in display box
CU Jewellery incorporating Tsavorites
Initials BB/1750 NPO/DE/BB/1810
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Background: Tsavorite is the name of the world's most recently discovered gemstone, and for the past two years mining operations have been gathering pace at the site where it was first found in Taita District, kenya.
The deposits were discovered in 1973 and were the first of their kind to produce sufficient gem quality material to warrant launching the stone on the market under a distinctive trade name. The site of the open cast mine is situated at an altitude of about 4,000 feet above sea level on top of the Mgama Hills overlooking the vast area of the Tsavo West National park. The area is approximately 200 miles (322 kms.) south-east of Nairobi.
Experts have described the discovery of Tsavorite as "the most important thing that has happened to the gem trade in years". In technical language it is described as a chrome-vanadium grossular garnet. It is the Vanadium -- which is rare chemical element -- which gives it a superb colour that is as beautiful as the best emeralds.
When sold, Tsavorites are not much cheaper than emeralds. Small stones form one to three carats cost about ???100 (210 U.S. dollars) per carat if perfect. Tiffany's of New York are among the prominent dealers promoting the gem.
No big stones have been found so far, but as the mine has only been in operation for two years, there is hope that a really large gem will be found one day. Some of the stones are cut and polished in Kenya and sold locally. But most the stones produced go abroad, particularly to the United States and West Germany, where they are already in considerable demand.