Record Setting 116 carat Tsavorite Unveiled

Apr 25, 2023

IGI classroom said, last week the Lion of Merelani, a spectacular 116.76 carat tsavorite garnet, was unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. This exquisite gemstone has been recorded as the largest tsavorite ever cut in the United States and the largest precision-cut tsavorite in the world.

283 carat rough crystal-Tsavorite is an exceedingly rare variety of garnet found predominantly in regions at the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Victor Tuzlukov, the famous gem cutter, fashioned the rough stone into the 116.76 carat Lion of Merelani, which boasts a total of 177 facets. The original rough tsavorite crystal, discovered near Merelani in Tanzania in 2017, weighed a remarkable 283 carats.

An exciting addition by the Smithsonian’s gem-collection team examined the stone up close at the 2020 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and were astonished by its unprecedented size and quality. According to mineralogist Jeffrey Post, the museum’s curator-in-charge of gems and minerals:

This tsavorite is truly one of the most important colored gemstones to have been mined this decade. A gem like this is one of Earth’s natural treasures and is an exciting addition to the National Gem Collection and to our public exhibition.

Faceted tsavorites over 10 carats are rare, and the 116 carat Lion of Merelani is more than 100 carats heavier than the National Gem Collection’s current largest tsavorite jewel.

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