Garnet Minerals – The Many Colors of Garnets

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Spessartine is an uncommon garnet. Spessartite or spessartine is manganese aluminum garnet, Mn3Al2(SiO4)3. Madagascar’s spessartine garnet is a recently discovered variety with a beautiful raspberry body color, and spectacular salmon-pink fire. Spessartine is an orange-red or plain orange stone, also called “Mandarin garnet. Mandarin Garnets were recently discovered in East Africa and are a variety of Spessartine Garnets. They were found in the German Spessart Mountains, hence their name Spessartine.

Rhodolite garnet is a combination of almandine and pyrope, and is sometimes referred to as pyrope-almandine garnet. Rhodolite is a purplish red variety of garnets that has been used since ancient times. Rhodolite garnet, like all garnet is a fairly hardy gem. Rhodolite Garnet boasts a vibrant cranberry color, and its name is derived from the rhododendron flower that shares a similar hue. The color ranges from pink to purplish red in color and is mined in Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. Rhodolite Garnet is used as affordable substitutes for the Ruby. Pyrope garnet is also called anthill garnet in Arizona because ants bring the gem to the surface while building their homes. The term “American ruby” is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Hessonite (also called “cinnamon stone”) is a cinnamon-brown to orange gemstone variety of grossular garnet. Hessonite Garnet is a special Garnet used in Vedic gemology to increase creativity and imagination. The oranges and browns of Hessonite hail from Namibia and Sri Lanka.

Commonly called Tsavorite Garnet, this green grossular are very rare. Tsavorite is among the most coveted members of the garnet family. We adore Tsavorite Garnet because it offers the color and hue of an emerald and yet, it’s more rare, and much more vibrant. The name for Tsavorite Garnet comes from the Tsavo National Park in Kenya, which is the only region where Tsavorite Garnet is mined. Tsavorite can be considered a “new” gemstone since it was unknown before its discovery in Kenya in the 1960s. Tsavorite has a beautiful vivid green color, is bright and lively with a high refractive index, and has a garnet’s durability and high clarity. Even though Tsavorite Garnet is rare, the lack of demand keeps the prices well below that of the more plentiful Emerald.

Grossular is a pale green, pink, brown, or black garnet, Ca3Al2(SiO4)3, occurring alone or as a constituent of the common garnet. Tsavorite is a variety of green grossular garnets discovered in 1967. The name Grossular comes from the Latin Grossulara (the name of gooseberry fruit) which is the same color as the greenish variety of garnet. Some grossular garnets can have round and elliptical inclusions. Massive white grossular has been found with jade in Myanmar and has been carved by the Chinese. A variety of Grossular Garnets, Hessonite comes in two colors, golden and cinnamon (this variety is commonly known as the Cinnamon Stone.

The demantoid belongs to the large gemstone family of the garnets, and is actually a variety of the garnet mineral andradite. One of the rarest and most sought after colored gemstones have always been demantoid garnet. The name Demantoid means diamond-like, because it has a very high adamantine luster, and color dispersion higher than diamond. As seen with the demantoid garnet, inclusions can sometimes be a benefit to garnets rather than a liability. Demantoid garnet was used lavishly by the Tsars of Russia. Originally discovered in Russia, the Demantoid garnet was favored by Russia’s leading court jeweler, Carl Faberge’. Demantoid garnets are softer than other garnets and should be protected. Demantoid has been called the “emerald of the Urals” from its occurrence there, and is one of the most prized of garnet varieties. “Horse-tail” inclusions in demantoid garnet make it more valuable because they prove it came from Russia. It can be more expensive than ruby and sapphire.

Andradite garnet can be yellow-green, green, greenish brown, orange yellow, brown, grayish black or black. Andradite is a calcium-iron garnet, Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3, is of variable composition, and may be red, yellow, brown, green, or black. Andradite garnet is usually black and of no interest to the gem trade, but one variety called “Demantoid” is a lively green. A new green Andradite Garnet has been coming out of Namibia, but some experts say they lack much of Demantoid’s character and luster. Andradite can be found in calcareous metamorphic rocks, especially marbles and skarns.

Uvarovite, an emerald-green variety from Russia and Finland, is rarely suitable for gem use. Uvarovite garnet is found only in tiny sizes. Uvarovite is a calcium chromium garnet with the formula Ca3Cr2(SiO4)3. The uvarovite garnet has been synthesized (mineralized with borax to facilitate diffusion of precursors) by several sols-“gel methods. Uvarovite is quite brittle; this makes it difficult to cut for jewelry. Uvarovite, like other garnets, forms rounded crystals with 12 rhombic or 24 trapezoidal faces or combinations of these and some other forms. The Uvarovite Garnet is found In Russia and is a bright green cluster of crystals sometimes also called drusy. Uvarovite develops in a metamorphic environment in serpentines with chromite and in metamorphosed limestone.

Mandarin Garnet is a bright orange garnet. Mandarin Garnet is a trade name for bright orange spessartine from Namibia. Recently, there was a new discovery of Mandarin Garnet in Nigeria with an unbelievable neon orange color. Mandarin Garnets are the intensely bright orange red varieties of the rare orange Spessartite Garnet, also known as Spessartine.

The Merelani Mint is a green grossular garnet. Merelani Mint Garnet is rapidly emerging as a collector’s stone and it is becoming quite prominent due to its beauty and rarity. Merelani Mint is the name given to a bright mint green variety of grossular garnet that has been recently discovered in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania.

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