Massive Record-Setting 116 Carat Tsavorite Crystal Crushes Previous Record Holder

The New Record Tsavorite Crystal

According to the Smithsonian, the Lion of Merelani, an astonishing 116.76 carat tsavorite garnet, was recently revealed to the public. The striking gemstone is the new record holder for being the largest tsavorite ever cut in the United States and the largest precision-cut tsavorite in the world.

The Lion of Merelani originated from a raw 283 carat crystal (see image below). Tsavorite is an extremely rare variety of garnet. It’s often Found in the border areas of Kenya and Tanzania. In 2017, the original 283 carat crystal was discovered near Merelani, Tanzania.

Photo by Jeff Scovil, courtesy of Bridges Tsavorite
Photo by Jeff Scovil, courtesy of Bridges Tsavorite

The meticulous cutting and faceting process was performed by the renowned gem cutter Victor Tuzlukov, resulting in a stone with an astounding 177 facets (See image below).

At the 2020 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History were captivated by the gem’s unparalleled magnitude and exceptional clarity.

Jeffrey Post, a prominent mineralogist and curator, praised the tsavorite stating it ranks as one of the most significant colored gemstones unearthed in recent years. He emphasized its position as a natural marvel and a substantial acquisition for the National Gem Collection.

Photo by Jeff Scovil, courtesy of Bridges Tsavorite
Photo by Jeff Scovil, courtesy of Bridges Tsavorite

The Lion of Merelani significantly overshadows the previous record holding tsavorite crystal in the collection, by more than 100 carats!

The Lion of Merelani has been gifted to the National Gem Collection from Somewhere in the Rainbow, a privately owned gem and jewelry collection that works to preserve the rarity and beauty of the world’s finest colored gems.

after the district in Tanzania where it was found. He then donated it to the Smithsonian’s National Gem & Mineral Collection in 2022 in honor of his father.

The Lion of Merelani serves as an homage to the geologist Campbell Bridges as well as the the district in Tanzania where the stone was found. Campbell Bridges was murdered in 2009 by a mob of illegal claim jumpers. Bridges is credited with tsavorite’s discovery in 1967.

The Smithsonian has slated the gemstone to be displayed at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. With its alluring beauty and well-chronicled backstory, it’s anticipated that it will quickly captivate visitors and become the stone that all future tsavorite garnets will be compared to.

Weight116.76 carats
Original Size283 carats rough crystal
Discovery Year2017
Display LocationSmithsonian Museum

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