Gems & Gemology Gems & Gemology, Spring 2019, Vol. 55, No. 1

Largest Square Cushion-Cut Tsavorite


A 283.74 ct rough tsavorite (left) yielded this 11.674 ct square cushion-cut gem (right).
This 283.74 ct rough tsavorite (left) was mined in Merelani, Tanzania, by Bridges Tsavorite and yielded a 116.76 ct square cushion cut (right). Photos by Robert Weldon/GIA, courtesy of Bruce Bridges.

At the AGTA show, Bridges Tsavorite unveiled the largest known square cushion-cut tsavorite, weighing 116.76 ct (see above). The 283.74 ct rough stone was mined by the company in Merelani, Tanzania, in September 2017. Bangkok-based gem cutter Victor Tuzlukov cut the stone at Bridges Tsavorite’s Arizona office over the course of a month in 2018.

The tsavorite could be a once-in-a-lifetime stone, said Bruce Bridges, the company’s CEO and son of the late Campbell Bridges. Despite seeing most of the finest tsavorites in the world above 20 carats, he had never seen one comparable to this size in a square cushion cut. The square cushion and round cuts are the rarest shapes for tsavorite because the rough typically lends itself to other shapes.

Size and cut were not the only factors contributing to this tsavorite’s rarity. The rough was extremely clean for its size. It had several very well-terminated euhedral faces, unusual for tsavorite, which typically has more fragmented face formation. The tsavorite also has the distinction of being the largest gemstone cut in the United States.

Bridges said that the public is much more concerned about ethical sourcing than in the past and wants to know where a gemstone came from; in keeping with Bridges Tsavorite’s mine-to-market tradition, the stone’s process from mining to finished product was completely documented. “My father would be very happy that we’re doing this and that we’re carrying on his legacy,” he said.

Bruce Bridges tells us about the square cushion-cut tsavorite.
 

In March 2018, a GIA team traveled to Arizona to document the cutting of the stone. Find out more about this rare tsavorite, and how Victor Tuzlukov approaches the cutting process, at https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research/angel-in-stone-cutting-largest-square-cushion-cut-tsavorite

Duncan Pay is the editor-in-chief of Gems & Gemology. Erin Hogarth is a writer and editor in Learning Design and Development at GIA in Carlsbad, California.