September 2021 Newsletter: Rare and Special Garnets

Tsavorite Garnet Spessartite Garnet Royal Purple Garnet
Tsavorite Garnet Spessartite Garnet Royal Purple Garnet

Many gemstone buyers associate Garnet with the deep red stones that were popular in European jewelry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those inexpensive garnets mainly belong to the Almandine and Pyrope varieties. Though they have good hardness they tend to have a definite brownish tone that makes them less attractive than more expensive red gems such as Ruby or Rubellite Tourmaline.

However, there are some rare Garnet varieties that are much sought after by gem dealers and collectors. These varieties include the chrome green Tsavorite Garnet, the mandarin orange Spessartite Garnet and the vivid Purple Garnet. If you think Garnet is rather common, these rare and special Garnets will change your mind.

Unlike the common dark red Garnets, these are all quite rare gems, especially in fine quality, often with single sources. Tsavorite has only been found in the border region of Tanzania and Kenya, while the top Royal Purple Garnet comes only from Mozambique. While Spessartite has been mined in several locations, most of the clean material with the coveted mandarin orange color has come from a mine in Nigeria that is now worked out.

Garnets have a high refractive index (higher than Ruby and Sapphire) and excellent brilliance and fire in the brighter colors. Garnets have very good hardness (7.5 on the Mohs scale) and are suitable for all kinds of jewelry. They are also one of the few singly refractive gems (along with Diamond and Spinel), giving them a purity of color

Spessartite Garnet ranges in color from a vivid orange to reddish orange and orange-red. The orange color derives from manganese, while the addition of traces of iron produce a redder color. The finest specimens come from Nigeria, including some which are a very pure mandarin orange.

Tsavorite Garnet is a rare grossular garnet colored by chromium. Discovered only in the 1960's, almost all the Tsavorite in the world comes from a small area at the intersection of Tanzania and Kenya in east Africa. The best Tsavorites rival emerald in color. Found mainly in smaller sizes, Tsavorites over 2 carats are very rare.

Purple Garnet is a rare hybrid garnet found in East Africa. The finest material, from Mozambique, has an amazing vivid purple hue with red flashes. These rare gems display a color change from grape to cranberry with magenta flashes.
High quality Garnets are completely natural and untreated, with very good clarity and transparency and outstanding brilliance.

See our collection of fine Tsavorite Garnet

See our collection of fine Spessartite Garnet

See our collection of fine Royal Purple Garnet


Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature rare Tsavorite, Spessartite and Purple Garnets from our collection. Click on any gem photo for details.

2.56 ct Tsavorite Garnet from Kenya
A top Tsavorite Garnet cushion from Kenya with amazing brilliance! This rare Tsavorite has an intense vivid green hue that is bright and open. This is beautiful crystal, very clean and precision cut. This fine gemstone will set up beautifully in your jewelry design and will be an important addition to any collection. Certified by GIT, the Gemological Testing Laboratory of The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand.
2.14 ct Tsavorite Garnet from Kenya
A fiery gem Tsavorite with a lovely medium green color. A bright, well cut gemstone that will sparkle in any setting, sure to impress. This stone will make a gorgeous ring or pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

5.07 ct Spessartite Garnet from Nigeria

A very fine Spessartite Garnet in the top mandarin orange color. It has been superbly cut with nice proportions and excellent fire. Spessartite of this color, quality and size are becoming increasingly rare and valuable. An outstanding specimen for the rare gem collector. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

9.22 ct Spessartite Garnet Set from Nigeria

We have carefully matched fine Spessartites from our collection to put together this unique set with Blue Sapphires and Diamonds for drop earrings. The two pairs of Spessartite ovals are 4.15 cts and 2.74 cts respectively, while the heart-shaped pair is 2.33 cts total. The 2 white Diamonds are 0.12 ct total weight while the round Blue Sapphires are 0.19 ct.

See a large photo

3.30 ct Royal Purple Garnet from Mozambique

A fine Royal Purple Garnet from Mozambique in a large size. This is beautifully clean material with a vivid open color, expertly cut in an elegant pear. Under cool light, this gems displays a rich purple hue, changing to cranberry with magenta flashes under incandescent light. This rare gem will set up beautifully in your jewelry design. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

5.22 ct Royal Purple Garnet Matched Pair from Mozambique

A gorgeous matched pair of Royal Purple Garnet pears from Mozambique! This is beautifully clean material with a vivid open color. These rare gems will make an exceptional pair of earrings, and will make a wonderful suite with the 3.30 ct pear listed above. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video


News from AJS and the Gems World

September Sale!

20% Off on All Gems with Payment by Bank Transfer

15% Off on All Gems with Payment by Credit Card

Use coupon code: SEP15

Offer expires September 30


Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

I see you have some beautiful opals from Ethiopia at very good prices. I wanted to ask you if these opals are durable. Do they tend to crack when they get dry? Thanks for any information. HL, Hong Kong

In 2008 there was a discovery of a huge deposit of high quality Opal in Welo province in northern Ethiopia. The best of this material is highly translucent with a vivid play of color, displaying a full range of colors against a white or blue or brown body color. Large patches of red and orange and green are common, and play of color is sometimes distributed along parallel colums that resemble fingers

The Ethiopian Opals are not only beautiful, but they are, according to a GIA study, "remarkably durable" and "resistant to crazing." The Ethiopian material is hydrophane Opal with a high water content that makes them unlikely to dry out or crack. Indeed our experience has been that these opals do well even in very dry climates like the Arizona desert, and that the play of color is even more pronounced in low humidity environments.

The Ethiopian Opals are really quite inexpensive given the quality of the gems, and prices are probably as low as they will go. If you've ever considered adding a fine Opal to your collection, there has never been a better time to acquire one of these beautiful gems at a great price.

All the best in gems,

AJS Gems, Bangkok