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Spessartite Garnet | Orange Garnet | Spessartine
History and General Information- Orange Spessartite Garnet

Orange Spessartite Garnet The first deposits of the orange spessartite garnets were first found in the District of Spessart in Bavaria, Germany in the 1990’s. Due to this origin of the gem, this garnet was named the spessartite garnet. It is also called as the spessartine garnet. The spessartite gem was once the rarest gem among the garnet group and was mainly popular as a collector’s gem.

natural amber gemstones imagesChemical Composition

The chemical compostion of natural spessartite crystal is  manganese aluminium silicate (Mn3 Al 2 {SiO4}3). Its specific gravity ranges from 4.12 to 4.20 and the refractive index range falls between 1.79 and 1.85. The hardness of this garnet on Mohs scale is 7.25. It has a vitreous to subadmantine polish luster.

Red Spessarite GarnetPhysical properties

Spessartite Color

Spessartites come in bright orange, orange-red and yellow hues. The most favored color of the gem is the aurora red which is a deep and dark red in color that looks like fire. If a spessartite is redder than it is orange, it is considered to be either an orange spessartite garnet or red orange spessartite. If the stone is mainly orange, it's called as mandarin garnet. Sometime a yellow colored spessartite gem can be mistaken as an andradite, topaz or a hessonite garnet

natural amber gemstones imagesCut

With its bright look and brilliance, spessartite garnet is a delight to be used in any jewelry item when cut and faceted in fashionable style. It can be cut in any fancy shape like oval shape, a pear shape, a round shape or even a star shape if the jeweler wants that.

Two big SpessartitesCarat

Brazil produces lager size gems that can weigh up to 40 carats, when faceted. The Virginia mine, however, produces fine gems with a weight of 10 cts or more when cut and faceted.

ClaritySpessartite in Orthoclase

There are various inclusions that can be found on close inspection. Many rough spessartite have the two-phase inclusions, feather-like liquid inclusions, needle-like inclusions and more. However, as availability is plentiful, only extremely clear and clean gemstone get a good value in the market. To fetch decent prices in the market, a spessartite garnet needs to be eye-clean with no inclusions visible to the naked eye.

Low Quality Orange SpessartinePrice, Cost and buying of spessartite garnet

The price of these stones is much lower than that of a diamond and the price per carat for a common stone can go upwards from 15USD per ct. However, special pieces above 15 carats with superior color and clarity can fetch a price up to 1500USD making the price per carat almost equal to 100USD.

Red Spessartite Garnet in QuartzMarkets and producers

At one tine spessartite was a rare gem. In fact it was one of the rarest gems from the garnet group, till about a few decades ago. Suddenly the market was flooded with large and small sizes of this gem due to spessartite mining in various other areas.

Today these gemstones are mined in Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar, Norway, Italy, Germany, Brazil, USA and India.

natural amber gemstones imagesTreatments done on Spessartine Garnets

Good quality spessartite gems are available in plenty. In most cases, since there are plenty of specimens to choose from, the varieties that are generally found in the market are unheated and untreated. There are no enhancements that are done on the stone. Neither are any additional techniques adopted that enhance the perception of quality.

Simulants of spessartite garnet

The simulants of spessartite garnet are other yellow and orange gems from the garnet group, zircon, apatite and tourmaline

Interesting trivia and other factsSpessartine Garnet

The Malaya garnet variety of garnet is a combination of three garnets that occurs together - pyrope, spessartite and small amount of almandine and its trace minerals are iron and manganese.

Malaya garnet was discovered in 1960’s in the Umba River Valley of Tanzania. It was accidentally discovered when miners where looking for rhodolite garnets. Merchants looking for rhodolite garnets did not favor this attractive pinkish to reddish orange gem. Therefore the Malaya gem got its name.

The word Malaya comes from a Swahili word that means out of the family or outcast. However, today the gem has gained popularity and is used in fashion jewelry.

Orange SpessartiteReference
1) Webster
2) Gemmology by Peter G.Read
3) Handbook of Gem Identification -   Richard  T.Liddicoat, jr
4) Gems & Crystals - From the American  Museum of Natural History - Anna S.Sofianides  and George E.Harlow.

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