Mandarin Garnet Spessartite Gemstone Information


Mandarin Spessartite Garnet is a rare form of orange garnet often referred to as Mandarin Garnet for its vivid orange color. These gems actually occur in a range of colors from yellowish orange to reddish orange and orange-red. The combination of vivid color and garnet's very high refractive index make spessartite garnet one of the most brilliant stones n the world of colored gems.

The pure orange, known as mandarin or fanta orange, is very rare and has been found in only a few deposits in Africa, notably in Nigeria. These top spessartites are sought after by gem collectors. Very little in the way of new material has been found recently, but we were lucky to buy some excellent gems from the original find.

The prices and value of spessartite garnet varies according to the size and quality of the gemstone. Color and clarity are the most important determinants of value. The vivid orange is the most valuable, especially clean stones in larger sizes. The reddish and orange and orange-red are also valuable in fine quality. Gems with a distinct brownish secondary hue, or heavily included stones, are less valuable.
 
Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry?
 
There are many reasons, but mainly it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your gemstone loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure that you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting.  A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color.  With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.  In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set with diamond accents.  You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!

  Spessartite garnet ring


Attributes

Origin Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Ceylon, Madagascar, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Myanmar, Burma, U.S.A
Color Orange, yellowish orange, reddish orange, orange-red
Refractive Index 1.79-1.81
Chemical Composition  Mn3Al2(SiO4)3
Hardness 7.25
Density 4.14-4.20
Crystal Structure Cubic

There are two main theoretical groups or families of garnet: pyrope, almandite, spessartite, which are all (metal) aluminium silicates, and uvarovite, grossularite, andradite, which are all calcium (metal) silicates.  In practice, there are probably very few garnets with the precise pure chemical composition shown for their type, almost all garnets are of mixed types, where one type is partially replaced by another type.

Garnets as a group are relatively common in highly metamorphosed rocks and in some igneous formations. They form under the high temperatures and/or pressures that those types of rocks must endure. Garnets can be used by geologists as a gauge of how much temperature and pressure the rock has endured. Garnets are greatly variable in colors and varieties, though, and many of these are both rare and beautiful, producing genuinely precious gemstones. Some garnets are truly unique in the mineral kingdom and have much to offer as both gemstones and mineral specimens.

The general formula for most of the garnets is A3B2(SiO4)3. The A represents divalent metals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and/or manganese. The B represents trivalent metals such as aluminum, chromium, iron and/or manganese and in the rarer garnets; vanadium, titanium, zirconium and/or silicon. The general formula for a couple of rarer garnets (hibschite and katoite) is A3B2(SiO4)3-X(OH)4X. The main differences in physical properties among the members of the garnet group are slight variations in color, density and index of refraction.

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs.  Garnets are isostructural, meaning that they share the same crystal structure. This leads to similar crystal shapes and properties. Garnets belong to the isometric crystal class, which produces very symmetrical, cube-based crystals. The most common crystal shape for garnets however is the rhombic dodecahedron, a twelve sided crystal with diamond-shaped (rhombic) faces. This basic shape is the trademark of garnets, for no other crystal shape is so closely associated with a single mineral group like the rhombic dodecahedron is with garnets.

Most garnets are red in color, leading to the erroneous belief that all garnets are red. In fact a few varieties, such as grossular, can have a wide range of colors, and uvarovite is always a bright green. As a mineral specimen, garnets usually have well shaped and complex crystals and their color and luster can make for a very beautiful addition to a collection.

 
What makes Spessartite Garnets so special?

Besides its wonderful colors, spessartite garnet, has additional advantages which make it a truly unique and valuable gemstone. There is its hardness of 7-7.5, making it perfect for any piece of jewelry.  Additionally these gemstones have a remarkably high refraction of light, giving it an exceptional brilliance. Even in unfavorable lighting conditions small, well cut Mandarin garnets will sparkle brilliantly.  The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral. Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet.  Spessartite garnet is singly refractive and thus has no birefringence.

Color
 
Spessartite garnet is ideochromatic, meaning that it is colored by a fundamental element in its composition. That element is manganese, which produces an orange color. Take away the manganese, and it would no longer be spessartite. Thus spessartite has only one basic color – orange.  That said, the color may be modified slightly by mixing with iron, in the form of almandine. This produces a deeper, more reddish coloration. Spessartite garnet can be found in all the ranges of orange from the color of ripe peaches to a deep orange-red. The most valuable spessarties are a bright, slightly reddish orange.  
 

Cut 

Spessartites are generally cut similar to other colored stones, with ovals, cushions, trillions and emerald cuts being most common. Other popular mandarin garnet shapes include rounds, marquises, briolettes, hearts and pears.  The lack of pleochroism means that orientation is not a problem and the equidimensional shape of the rough generally provides good yields from rough to cut. Cabochon-cut spessartites are also seen on occasion, particularly with the Namibian mandarin spessartites, which tend to be more heavily included.

Treatments

Spessartites are not currently enhanced by any method.

 
Sources 

Gem spessartite has been found at a number of localities around the world, including Brazil, Burma, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the USA (San Diego County, CA and Amelia Court House, VA). Of these sources, the most important today are Nigeria and northeast Namibia, in the vicinity of the Marienfluss River.


Africa

The discovery of the iron-free, brilliant orange spessartite garnet in Namibia in 1991, in commercial quantities created a sensation in the jewelry trade. The deposit lay in mica schist along the course of the Kunene river in the mountainous northwest area bordering Angola. Few inclusions marred the excellent crystals. The name hollandine was chosen for its introduction as a spectacular new gemstone. This was changed to Mandarin garnet when it was discovered that hollandine denotes a little-known metal. Within less than five years time, the deposit was depleted, and the area closed. The planned recovery of material from metamorphic bedrock in the rugged terrain surrounding the first find will be more difficult. Crystals recovered from the surface layer of this area contain numerous inclusions of tremolite, but cleaner material lies below. In 1999, a new source  was discovered in a remote area of Nigeria. Though the material was more yellow than the orange Namibian crystals, the size and abundance of the material made the public more aware of and increased the demand for spessartite gems. Despite great expectations, this deposit, too, was quickly depleted. Acquisition of material from the Nigerian area is sporadic and available only in small amounts from local native traders. Currently, developers are investigating a promising new deposit of a high (reputedly 90% or more) manganese content material located in the gem-rich Alto Mirador pegmatite dike of Paraiba in Brazil.
 
 
Africa Colored Gemstone Mining



USA

Many deposits within the United States produce fine gem-quality garnets, although gem-quality Spessartite garnet is rare.  The following is a list of garnet-producing states in the U.S. Arizona is one of five States that has commercial production of gem garnets. Arizona's gem garnet is red pyrope from two locations in the extreme northern portion of Apache County on the Navajo Indian Reservation. One location is at Garnet Ridge which is about 8 km west of the town of Mexican Water, and the other location is in Buell Park on the Arizona and New Mexico border, about 16 km north of Fort Defiance. 

Some of the finest quality spessartite garnet known come from pegmatites in San Diego County, California Spessartites have been found on Gem Hill near Mesa Grande and in mines in the Rincon and Pala Districts. The most productive area with the finest quality garnets is on the western side of Hatfield Creek Valley near Romona. 
                            
Alluvial deposits of almandite garnet were discovered in the early 1880's near Fernwood in Benewah County, Idaho but commercial gem and industrial mining did not start until the early 1940's. The deposits are on Emerald, Carpenter, and Meadow Creeks about 6.4 km from a mica-garnet schist formation.  Additionally, star garnets are produced from the placers of Purdue Creek in Latah County. Idaho's deposits also are the only ones in the world, besides India, that produces significant amounts of star garnets. These almandite garnets are translucent, purplish-red stones that show four- or six-ray stars when cabochon cut, or are transparent, deep red stones that can be faceted. The asterism is the result of silky rutile inclusions.

Large deposits of almandite and rhodolite garnet of gem and abrasive quality are known in Clay, Jackson, Macon, Madison, and Burke Counties in North Carolina. Abrasive-grade garnet was produced from some of these deposits from 1900 to about 1926, but no production has been recorded recently. The deposit of almandite garnet in Clay County is in a hornblende gneiss at Penland Bald on Buck Creek.

Fine red colored, gem-quality pyrope garnets have been found in the wastes from placer gold operations in Burke, McDowell, and Alexander Counties. Rose-pink rhodolite garnets are recovered from gravels in Cowee Creek near Franklin, and Mason's Branch near Iotla, both in Macon County. Rhodolite can be found in situ on Mason Mountain.

Mythology

Throughout time, there have been many ancient traditions and legends about the gemstone garnet...

Garnets have been known to Man for thousands of years. Noah, it is said, used a finely cut, glowing garnet within a lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night.

Many an early explorer and traveler liked to carry a garnet with him, for the garnet was popular as a talisman and protective stone, as it was believed to light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster.

The color orange plays a very important role in Asian arts, Asian gods are often dressed in orange robes, and even the sky may be painted orange.

Orange is also the color for the robes of Buddhist monks, cut from a single piece of cloth.

Yellow and red, the two colors constituting the orange found in mandarin garnet, are not considered opposites in Asia but rather complement each other.

The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to a pomegranate. This reference makes sense as small garnets look like the bright red seeds you find inside in a pomegranate.

In medieval times, garnets were thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver, as well as hemorrhages.

Hebrew writers include the garnet as one of the twelve gems in Aaron’s breastplate.

Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.

The Koran holds that the garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven of the Moslems.

The Greeks said garnet guarded children from drowning. It was also thought to be potent against poisons.

Garnets were found as beads in a necklace worn by a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C. This is proof of the hardness and durability of the stone.

Mandarin Spessartite Garnet was named after the Spessart district in Bavaria, Germany, where it was originally discovered.

Plato had his portrait engraved on a garnet by a Roman engraver.

Garnet is the Birthstone for the month of January and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage.

Spessartite has always been a rare stone, but a recent discovery of fine quality loose mandarin garnet spessartite in Nigeria has led to an increase in production in recent years. Although the original output had been significant, it is now just a trickle of what it used to be. The percentage of fine spessartite garnet material in larger sizes is very small.  With better quality loose mandarin garnet spessartite getting harder to find all the time, we offer our quality cut spessartite garnet gemstone to you at what maybe your last chance to own this rare beautiful orange mandarin garnet spessartite at a reasonable price.

 

AJS Gems, Bangkok: Wholesale Loose Mandarin Garnet

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