The Gemstone Spessartite (Garnet)
Spessartite is an orange to orange-red form of the gemstone Garnet.
The term Garnet describes a group name for several closely related minerals that form important gemstones, and Spessartite is an individual member mineral of the Garnet group. Spessartite is synonymous with Spessartine, though in the gem trade the name Spessartite is more frequently used, and in the mineral trade the term Spessartine is more frequently used. The term Spessartite is often identified together with the Garnet name and called Spessartine Garnet in the trade.
Red, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink
Natural Spessartite has an orange color, but iron impurities
usually present, which give it an reddish-orange or brownish-orange
orange Spessartite is not common; reddish, brownish or yellowish tints are frequent. Its most desirable color is a fiery-red with slight orange tints. Spessartite has an exceptionally high refractive index
, giving cut Spessartite gemstones a special brilliance.
Once fairly uncommon in gem-grade transparent
specimens, many new deposits of large facetable Spessartite crystals with excellent
color have been discovered, are are making this form of Garnet more
readily available and mainstream. A very important deposit of this gemstone was discovered in the 1960's in the Umba River Valley of Tanzania and Kenya. The trade name of Malaya Garnet
(or Malaia Garnet
) was coined to describe these new African Garnets. Malaya Garnets are not pure
Spessartite, but are intermediary
between Spessartite and Pyrope
, though closer in chemical composition
Spessartite is gaining popularity as a beautiful orange-red gemstone, and can be used in all forms of jewelry especially in rings and pendants. It is also polished into cabochon
s for rings and bracelets.
Treatments & Enhancements
Spessartite is is not enhanced and its beautiful colors are always natural.
The Gemstone Spessartite (Garnet) Sources
Important Spessartite sources are in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Brazil, and the U.S. (California).
Orange and orange-red Spessartite can be similar to Zircon
. It can also be very similar to Fire Opal
, though Fire Opal has a much lower hardness. Spessartite can also resemble Topaz
as well as certain reddish forms of heat treated Citrine
The Gemstone Spessartite (Garnet) Photos
The Gemstone Spessartite (Garnet) in the Rough Photos