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With so many stunning gemstones to choose from, you might be wondering how to select a good quality stone. Gemstones vary in quality, and one factor that determines quality is the stone’s clarity. People often confuse emeralds and Tsavorite because they’re both green stones, but emeralds actually have more inclusions than Tsavorite. We’ll delve into Tsavorite’s clarity so you can evaluate the stone’s on your own and be confident that you’ve selected an amazing gemstone.
As its name implies, gemstone clarity is based on the stone’s internal inclusions. Basically, how “clear” the gemstone appears under different conditions. Diamonds have very strict clarity grades because tiny inclusions affect the gem’s cut and sparkle. Clarity impacts quality, and also the price of the diamonds. A lower clarity grade diamond will be less expensive.
Colored gemstones have different clarity grading than diamonds. Often colored gems have visible inclusions, so their value isn’t impacted as much by the clarity. As an example, Tsavorites, rubies, and emeralds generally have a lot of inclusions, but amethysts and aquamarines do not.
As you evaluate Tsavorite’s quality, clarity is the second most important. Remember that clarity refers to the inclusions within the gemstone. GIA is known for grading gemstone quality, and they grade colored gemstone clarity as well. GIA classified Tsavorite as a Type 2 gemstone, which is known as “usually included.” This gemstone’s geology makes it more prone to inclusions. Other stones, like Tanzanite, are a Type 1 gem and naturally have fewer inclusions. It’s important to note that some brand’s create their own clarity grading for colored gemstones.
While Tsavroites do have inclusions, they make each stone unique and beautiful in their own way. Some of the incustions you’ll see include feathers, fingerprint inclusions, needles, asbestos fibers and small graphite platelets.
Some feather inclusions are noticeable while others are not, so take a close look at the stone. They appear to be a crack within the stone that has a feathery look when viewed from a right angle.
Fingerprint inclusions are commonly seen in rubies and sapphires. They’re a cloudy, net-like hollow inclusion filled with liquid and gas that form patterns resembling fingerprints around the crystal inclusion.
Another common inclusion, needles can be larger and distinct, or smaller and look like silk. Some stones, such as rubies and sapphires, have a whole bunch of needles arranged in such a way that they form a star. In amethyst, these generally make the gem opaque and lower in value. However, deeply colored amethyst gemstones with needles are beautifully made into carvings or cabochons.
Asbestos is a generic term encompassing a group of natural hydrated silicate minerals that grow in a fibrous form. Like the name implies, the inclusions look like fibers within the stone. The Almandine garnet has asbestos fiber inclusions to give it a star-like effect on the surface.
This type of inclusion can be hexagonal or rhombohedric crystals but often look like platelets in Tsavorite. Graphite inclusions have dull surfaces.
Regarding inclusions, Tsavorite is classed as a Type 2 gemstone by the GIA and is grouped among stones classified as "usually included." In other words, because of Tsavorite's geology, a majority of the stones have some inclusions. The most valuable Tsavorite gemstones should be eye-clean, meaning that no inclusions can be seen with the naked eye. If the stone has too many inclusions, it can make the stone look more opaque and dark.
In case you’re curious, VVS is the top grade in GIA’s colored stone clarity grading system for Tsavorite, and VVS stands for Very very slightly included. While some VVS Tsavorites are flawless (aka eye clean), they are graded as VVS based on the stone’s geology. In comparison, in the GIA Diamond grading system they would be awarded a Flawless or Internally Flawless grade.
Although there isn’t a set clarity scale for all colored gems, as a rule, they are rated on a scale from AAAA to B. Generally, AAAA stones are untreated and eye clean, with deep color. Some companies use their own quality descriptions, like AAA, AA and A, to denote Tsavorite quality.
It’s also important to mention that Tsavorites are not treated or enhanced in any way. Very few gemstones don’t receive treatment of any kind. Additionally, you can’t find a synthetic version of Tsavorite because it has complex chemical and physical properties that make it difficult to replicate in a lab.
It's normal for Tsavorite to have flaws and inclusions as a Type 2 gemstone per the GIA. It’s common for it to have impurities and inclusions that look like tiny feathers and tiny pieces of crystal. Avoid Tsavorites that have flaws visible to the naked eye.
In terms of clarity, GIA classifies Tsavorite as a Type 2 gemstone by the GIA, also known as "usually included." In terms of color, the best Tsavorites have tones in the 5-6 range and saturations in the 5-6 range.
A microscope test is a great way to check for fake gemstones. Place the stone under a bright light and look at it through a microscope or a 10x jeweler's loupe. If you see any bubbles within the gem, it is likely a fake.