Chronicles of a Tsavorite: Part II

In my previous entry, I started to take you through the process of cutting a gemstone.  I picked a Tsavorite because they have become somewhat of a quest for me.  Tsavorite has a truer green than emerald – with less blue in it – and it is definitely more rare as well.  Think about it: if a gemstone were hard to get, why would the jewelry industry bother with mass marketing it?  If you are a large jewelry chain, you rely on a consistent supply of gemstones that look exactly alike.  With Tsavorite (and with Spinel, by the way), this would be impossible, and that’s why you don’t see it very often.  This also means that even though it isn’t cheap, Tsavorite costs less than good quality emerald, ruby or sapphire – because jewelry chains won’t buy it, the prices of Tsavorite are not driven up as much.
My own search for Tsavorite, I am happy to report, as finally ended on a positive note.  But it took over six months.  I know at least 10 gemstone suppliers in NYC, and they in turn know other suppliers. But the few that had tsavorite were charging such exhorbitant prices that I never bought any.  Finally, last February, I did up a supplier in NJ that had a small parcel, handcut by their own factory in India. I bought a pair at a show and then the setter lost one (grrr). I made a ring out of the remaining piece and sold it immediately. In July I finally got another two matched pairs, and sold both immediately. I had one more for a ring that is listed on etsy right now, the other ring was used for a custom order.
I have since called, emailed and otherwise bugged this supplier and finally they shipped me a small parcel of stones. Right away, I set this pair of earrings. My parcel consists only of about 40 4mm pieces, so I cannot offer anything larger, smaller, or darker.  Below is a picture of the first pair of earrings I made out of my parcel, I listed them on a Friday and they sold on a Sunday.  I’m going to try to set another pair this week.  Oh, and D., who is working on this stone, has asked me (ME) to get him a parcel as well.  You have no idea how odd that is, because he’s been working on the Street for decades.  I guess that means I have every reason to be proud of my find!

4mm Tsavorite Earrings
But let’s get back to the piece D. was working on.  The first picture is of the Tsavorite on the cutting stick, held down by wax.   At this point, it can no longer be held by hand.  The wax has to be melted to mount the stone onto the stick, and if it is too hot, it can crack the stone.  I’ve seen it happen.  

Tsavorite on Cutting Stick

Now the finer facets are added.  Whereas the first cuts took only a few minutes, these took closer to an hour.  Well, maybe half an hour.  Enough time for me to run out for an errand and come back, in any case. In this second picture, you see D. holding the stone on the stick, which now has been cut some more and polished so you can see it better.  The stick is mounted to a handle that gets mounted on top of the cutting wheel (I’ll get you a picture of that next time).  

Tsavorite with Emerald Cut Facets
The last picture below shows the emerald facets.  D. is still not done, for the side that you see needs to be flattened to create the table.  The other side will stay as you see it here.  Some of the faceting may still need to be fine tuned, I don’t know.  I’ll see what my piece looks like next time.  In the meanwhile, the stone has lost some more weight.  It is now an 80 pointer, in other words, it weighs .8 carats (the initial weight was 1.52 carats).  It will still lose some more for the table, but hopefully not too much.
Tsavorite with Facets