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Looking for a tsavorite on a budget

Discussion in 'Colored Stones' started by mimB, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    I have a $1500 strict budget for a ring - both the stone and the setting.
    I am currently allocating $700-$800 for a tsavorite garnet. My starting desire is: square cushion cut, medium tone, vivid, facing up to between 5mm-7mm.
    There is no deadline to this project - just as long as my patience holds.

    I've read all tsavorite threads I could find on PriceScope, and I know the two main truths: a) green is an immensely difficult color to photograph; b) the accepted ideal color is a saturated green of medium-dark tone with blue-ish reflections - but one has to see tsavorites in person to really know the color range and know their preferred color.

    So my first step on this search is to acquire stones within my budget, analyze how I feel about them and make sure to make decisions within their return period :)

    What I would really like your help with is figuring out whether my analysis is too picky, and what aspects of the stone I should compromise on to get what I want on my budget.

    (Disclaimer: amateur taking gem photos on a cloudy day)
     
  2. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    Stone #1: 1.07 ct, 5.5 x 5.5 x 4.3mm, VS clarity - from Gary @ Finewater Gems
    http://www.finewatergems.com/garnet.html

    My failed attempt at a picture doesn't do any justice to the color, but does show an inclusion under the table (seen on the right), that easily catches light and becomes this spot of lightness:


    I have very quickly decided to return Gary's stone.
    The color of it I see is much deeper than his vendor pictures show, and the shape is perfect, just what I want, the size is just what I want, and the price is very good and within my budget. The faceting is pretty cool, and results in lots of scintillation - when I move the gem against the light, it shoots these narrow arrows of reflections off the back facets, and it looks all shimmery.
    But: I decided I don't like actually like the shimmery look. From many angles, at least in the lighting we've been getting, it means that only a couple of needle places in the stone reflect light, and the rest of the stone gets dark.

    In general, actually, what I liked least from photos of medium-dark tsavorites are the areas of darkness the off facets create. I wonder if in lighter toned stones, this is not an issue?

    More bad pics of this stone to follow :)

    gary_s_2.png
     
  3. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    More of Gary's beauty:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by T L » Jul 22, 2012
    Sounds like the stone has too much extinction for your taste. I would focus on medium toned tsavorites. If you go medium light and lighter, than they're more of a minty yellowish green or bluish green color, and some people prefer that as well.
     
  5. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    TL, thank you for your reply!
    Yeah, I think my next round of stones will be more medium toned.

    I'm trying to look up whether a particular cut of in colored stones is always expected to yield particular areas of extinction - for example, I know that in rectangular or oval cuts, often there will be a line of reflection of bright color that will move along the y-axis of the stone depending how you tilt it, and that the rest of the stone will be sleepy at that point.

    Is there anything similar in princess or cushion cuts? (Like, perhaps a light is expected to be reflected in a particular pattern?)
     
  6. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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  7. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by T L » Jul 22, 2012
    I'm not an expert on cuts and extinction, but I think rounds and cushions show less extinction than elongated cuts like some ovals, pears, and rectangular cuts. This is just my experience, and I'm also a person that tends to stick with medium to medium light tones, so I avoid too much extinction that way. Now you cannot avoid facet shadows, unless you get a cabochon, but the important thing is to make sure that the facet shadows are not too dark.

    Did Jaimeen state that the above cushion is medium toned? If he didn't, I would make sure I specify that before he sends one out to you.

    ETA: Try to avoid cuts that are overly deep as well, as they tend to show more extinction in my experience.
     
  8. GemFever
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by GemFever » Jul 22, 2012
    Can't wait to see your pics of Jaimeen's stone.

    I personally would be more attracted to the lighter tones, and ones that are more on the yellow side than blue, because I think they would have less tendency to get dark. But, I'm no expert on tsavorites. Maybe yellower-tones ones would also be less pricey?
     
  9. T L
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by T L » Jul 22, 2012
    Yes, yellowish green tends to be less pricey than bluish green tsavorites in my experience.

    I don't think bluish green ones tend to be darker than yellowish greens, but they are rarer, and perhaps that is why you see less medium to medium light toned bluish greens???

    Medium light to medium bluish greens do exist and are very beautiful IMO, but some people prefer more of a straight green to yellowish green. Tsavorites also tend to color shift in certain lighting and tend to go to more of a straight green or yellowish green, so if that isn't for you, make sure you check them out in various light sources.
     
  10. NKOTB
    Brilliant_Rock

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  11. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    More photos!

    Got new shots of Gary's stone - they do it more justice. The stone is a pretty deep forest green - the kind healthy grown leaves are.



    So, my conclusion - it's certainly prettier in sunlight, and shimmery, and vivid, but the cut and the extinction is not my thing.

    gary_s_004.png

    gary_s_005.png
     
  12. GemFever
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by GemFever » Jul 22, 2012
    nice pics!
     
  13. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    Now, onto Yvonne's stone!

    Btw, GemFever pointed out to me that I might have created an awkward situation by referring to Yvonne as "sourcing the stone" from Jaimeen. The fact is, Yvonne is a jeweler specializing in untreated gems, and she sells both completed pieces and gemstones. I've bought several pieces from her in the past, including a so-called twig ring: a silver band cast from a twig, with a marquis tsavorite attached to it in the likeness of a leaf. This is why I wrote to her now, explaining my search and interest in any tsavorites she might have. This particular one she sent me originally comes from Jaimeen, which I included (perhaps thoughtlessly) in case anyone was interested.
    I call it Yvonne's stone as Yvonne is the actual vendor I work with.

    On to the stone itself. It is 1.46ct but faces up to 5.9mm, so it is deep. The style of cutting for back facets is one I enjoy - it looks like a pattern of fish scales, when they reflect light. The color in the color flashes it gives of are, as I anticipated from her photo, phenomenal.
    The extinction I dislike is also present in this stone, but I think I would have happily lived with it as a trade off to the epic green fire within if not for two nuances: a) the deep cut resulted in a window; b) this window is emphasized by the symmetrical triangles of shadow/extinction from most angles.
    So... I know that there are ways to close a window using a setting - for example, as GemFever did with her chrysoberyl: https://www.pricescope.com/forum/colored-stones/chrysoberyl-set-by-danielm-t172372.html
    But the extinction caused by the depth in the center of the stone...not sure I can be happy with that.

    Pictures!





    My SO was impressed with this stone, though. He now gets my tsavorite love, and claims his untrained eyes think the stone is quite beautiful :D

    yvonne_s_003.png

    yvonne_s_004.png

    yvonne_s_005.png

    yvonne_s_006.png
     
  14. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    Final batch for today: comparison pics.

    Gary's on the left, Yvonne's on the left.





    Girls - this whole gem hunting is far too much fun and too much time :)

    gary_s_vs_yvonne_s_005.png

    gary_s_vs_yvonne_s_006.png

    gary_s_vs_yvonne_s_008.png

    gary_s_vs_yvonne_s_009.png
     
  15. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 22, 2012
    Thank you for the link!
    I've seen it at "Somebody's Gotta Buy This Stone!" thread, and checked out Select Gem on their main website, but it doesn't even have a means to contact the sellers?
    As for Facebook (whaa, I soo dislike Facebook) - I've sent him a message, and if Select Gem offers a favorable return policy, will be definitely checking out that stone.
     
  16. jstarfireb
    Ideal_Rock

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    by jstarfireb » Jul 22, 2012
    I've bought tsavorites from Lisa Elser, John at Gemrite, and Gene Flanigan (Precision Gem). I believe Gene and Lisa could custom-cut one for you in your budget if they have the right rough.

    Swala Gem Traders usually carry a ton of square cushions, and they have their own gem mine and cutting facility. One is a tad over $800 but worth looking into if you can spend less on the setting:

    http://www.swalagemtraders.com/search-gems/detail.php?pid=2274
    http://www.swalagemtraders.com/search-gems/detail.php?pid=2275
     
  17. tara3056
    Shiny_Rock

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    by tara3056 » Jul 23, 2012
    You may want to contact Bruce Bridges of www.tsavorite.com.. I *just* purchased a 1.38 carat slightly rectangular cushion cut tsavorite from him, but mine is medium-dark in color and doesn't sound quite like what you're looking for. He sent me 4 stones to preview - they were all very nice, but the one I picked was the only one I saw that had the slight bluish hues. The others were pure green. My budget was a bit higher, but I still think he may be able to find you one if you're quite clear about what you're looking for. His Dad discovered tsavorite and his family still owns their mine in Kenya.

    My second pick for a tsav would be Swala, but their shipping and return policies make previewing stones quite cost-prohibitive. Many of them look beautiful though.
     
  18. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 23, 2012
    You have certainly set quite a lot of restrictions but at least you have time on your side. Given that it seems you want a fine quality tsavorite, you are more likely to get a 5 mm stone rather than a 7 mm stone for your budget. Yellowish green is also usually less expensive than bluish green, and also more common than the latter.

    When evaluating whether to keep or return the stone, I take into consideration how it performs in both indoor and outdoor lighting. For some, as long as the stone looks great under the type of lighting they are using the most often is sufficient which is great for the budget conscious. I'm pickier so it has to perform under all types of lighting, hence these type of stones are generally a bit pricier.

    What I am seeing in Yvonne's tsavorite appears to be a tilt window; it is not apparent in the other pictures and only shows up in that one picture where it is tilted. A true window is when you can see through it with the stone placed straight up/down, not at an angle. The facet pattern which you like is called Portuguese faceting, which has extra facets to give it amped up brilliancy.

    When a stone is overly deep, it has a tendency to suffer from extinction. On the plus side, it also preserves the colour better, so there is a trade off there which has to be weighed accordingly. Windowing is not a result of a deep stone, if anything the opposite is true. Shallow stones almost always are windowed. When a deep stone is windowed, it is because the last 3 tiers of the pavilion are not cut to the correct angles. A touch up of the pavilion will close up the window permanently with very little weight loss and almost no change in face up dimensions.

    The two tsavorites you have in hand are very similar in colouration, with the Yvonne's cushion showing slightly more brightness. Bruce Bridges is geared more towards those with a large budget and Swala has higher shipping fees although both carry various quality tsavorites.
     
  19. ChrisA222
    Brilliant_Rock
    Trade

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    by ChrisA222 » Jul 23, 2012
    Chrono, thanks for the explaination....I did not know that it was stone depth that contributed to extinction...boy, you learn something new every day!!

    That being said, I don't find either stone to show much of any extinction...maybe it is just my eyes...I dunno. Chrono, would you say that Garys stone shows extinction? It looks pretty good to me....
     
  20. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 23, 2012
    Chris,
    There are various reasons that contribute to a stone showing extinction but to say depth alone causes it is a little misleading. My apologies for that; I've seen some overly deep stones that show little extinction. I wrote that just to keep the explanation simple and easier to understand because it is usually a combination of factors that cause extinction. The short and sweet answer though is that usually an overly deep stone tends to be somewhat extinct. Is that confusing enough for you? :tongue:

    Both stones show extinction of varying degrees to me. The Yvonne stone shows less extinction - it can almost be considered brilliance contrast at this point. Sometimes, Gary's stone is bright and shows brilliance contrast as well but in most of the pictures, the blackness covers more than 70% of the surface and this is considered extinction. At their very best, both are bright stones when strong lighting is present but when indoors, the extinction becomes readily apparent.
     
  21. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 23, 2012
    Extinction:
    I could not find an example in green, so blue will have to suffice. :rodent:
    Stone 1: light tone and low saturation
    Stone 2: close to ideal tone and saturation. Note the lack of black areas, hence little to no extinction.
    Stone 3: greater saturation than Stone 2 in some areas but tone is too dark and has too much extinction. Extinction is the black areas.
    Stone 4: Very dark in tone to the point saturation is reduced, very extinct and looks almost opaque even though it really isn't.

    saturation_0.jpg
     
  22. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 23, 2012
    Jstarfireb, thank you for the suggestions!
    I'll add them to my list of vendors to contact next.

    Actually, based on photos from Swala, their selection is one of the most attractive to my eyes - color wise. But what what I know, and as Tara also points out, their shipping costs are return prohibitive (I think $60 to ship to you, and then they subtract $100 from the refund to cover their shipping costs?).
    So I'm going to be trying all the vendors who offer a return period and manageable shipping costs first, and if somehow I still haven't found a stone I love, I'll contact Swala.
     
  23. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 23, 2012
    Tara, thank you!
    I totally forgot about Bruce - not sure how I could have missed the original tsavorite vendor... But that's just me, I guess.

    So at this point, I have the following vendors to contact once I return Gary's stone (upcoming Saturday at latest):
    Select Gem
    Lisa Elser
    GemRite
    Precision Gem
    Bruce Bridges
     
  24. minousbijoux
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by minousbijoux » Jul 23, 2012
    I would also contact Roger Dery at Spectral Gems. His cutting is excellent.
     
  25. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 23, 2012
    Chrono,
    Thank you for all that knowledge sharing!
    I'll remember that this is the Portugese cut - but from what I take it, I should keep myself open to various cuts, since I already picked a shape that isn't the most common? (not an oval)

    So I tried taking photos of Yvonne's tsavorite directly from the top, and on various gold chains I have (mostly to enjoy the green).
    I agree that the window it a little more obvious at a slight tilt, but directly from above as well, it's still there.
    These were taken on an overcast day, 2pm, inside in a room full of windows.





    Oh, and I can't tell if this is true only for PS recommended vendors' online stores, or for their inventory in general - but it seems that vendors don't deal in tsavorites under .7 cts, and tend to have stones posted of 1.3 - 2.5 cts in weight. I assume that's because these stones are well cut, and why cut a stone carefully if it's too small to make you a good return?
    But does that mean that most don't carry smaller medium colored stones overall?

    yvonne_s_007.png

    yvonne_s_008.png

    yvonne_s_009.png
     
  26. distracts
    Ideal_Rock

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    by distracts » Jul 23, 2012
    I just recently was shopping for a tsavorite for a ring with a pretty similar budget, looking for about a one carat round. I ended up with a square cushion. Go figure. I bought it from Gemrite.

    https://www.pricescope.com/forum/colored-stones/new-tsavorite-t176966.html

    It is lighter and yellower than the "ideal" color for tsavorite, but I slightly prefer the lighter, yellower ones. The cushion shows dark spots when you look at it up close or from an extreme viewing angle, but you can see from the handshots that at normal viewing distance it is just glowy bright green. It's one carat and I got it for less than your stone budget. I was originally looking for a round, and a lot of those were at least twice as expensive as this one in similar sizes, but I kept coming back to the picture of this one on the Gemrite site and ended up getting it. I have tried to take some better comparison pictures of it for you with my darker Barry Bridgestock-cut tsavorite, but right now I can't get them in focus at the same time or, if I do that, I end up obstructing the light from the darker one and killing its pretty glow. The lighter one does seem to sparkle more though.

    Do you live anywhere near where an Intergem show will be soon? Vance Gems usually has a good selection of tsavorite, and I imagine Prima Gems does as well, though I haven't actually looked at their tsavorite that I can recall (I vividly remember their spessartite and pink spinels and chrysoberyls though!).
     
  27. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 23, 2012
    Yeah.. I dived into this search pretty head on - when I contacted Yvonne, I still was interested in seeing what is considered ideal color and tone, and from what I understand, her stone is pretty exemplary in those aspects?
    I ordered Gary's stone a day later, and from his vendor photos expected it to be lighter. In real life, especially in indoor lighting, it ended up being similarly tones to Yvonne's.
    I also kind of expected to look at the stones, and either love them or not - didn't expect to have little qualms about them or wonder about little details :) So I already had both of them when I posted this thread.
    I will however take your advise when contacting future vendors - will explain what I want and will ask the vendor to describe the stone before sending...
    I take it, it's also not too bad to ask them for more photos? Or is that typically polite only when you're spending more money than I'm planning to?
     
  28. giff1023
    Rough_Rock

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    by giff1023 » Jul 23, 2012
    I'd like to second Bruce, and don't be too put off if you don't find his pictures appealing.

    After a couple months of searching, I ended up seeing a number of stones from Bruce and others and finally got a 1.49ct antique cushion from Bruce. His pictures didn't do justice to the stone, and it has much more life than others. Below is Bruce's picture of the stone which he calls "Medium-plus" (in between medium and medium-dark).

    [​IMG]

    And here is the final ring photographed by whiteflash:

    [​IMG]

    In fact it's much sparklier in person, but it just shows how difficult it is to photograph these stones. It was very nice being able to explain to Bruce what I was looking for and having him send me options than trying to decipher vendor pictures (unless you like that sort of thing :twirl: )
     
  29. mimB
    Shiny_Rock

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    by mimB » Jul 23, 2012
    Distracts!
    The last two pics of your thread is what actually got me to decide that - that's it, I can't wait any longer, I'm getting myself one :D
    It looks sooo good in that gold temp setting!!

    There's a show in Chantilly VA coming up in mid August, which is about 1 hour drive away from me - it's a good suggestion, I'll consider it. Most likely though, it won't be an option - it's on the weekend of my final project deadline for a Java course I'm taking, and I haven't been very able to turn things in early in this course... But perhaps the stars will align :)

    I actually attended an Intergem show this spring, and it was kind of overwhelming and not very interesting (I clearly missed how to view everything properly). I was too shocked by all the bright lights and sparkle to actually speak to any vendors, and in terms of stones people had on ready display, none of tsavorites looked appealing. :/
     
  30. GemFever
    Ideal_Rock
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    by GemFever » Jul 23, 2012
    I think if you go with a specific stone in mind, you'll be able to check out most of the vendors and make some choices. It's the hardest to navigate Intergem when you don't know what you want, then your eyes start wandering in all the different directions.

    That said, I'd keep looking online... less rush, less pressure, more time to ask PSers for their opinions and make an educated decision.
     

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