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Orange garnet spessartite: description, properties and photo

Orange garnet spessartite

Spessartine is a type of garnet that is much less common than others. It is named after its find in the Spessart Mountains in northwestern Bavaria, Germany. It was first described in 1832. The size of the crystals of the gem grade mineral is insignificant, and faceted specimens weighing more than 5 carats are considered rare. Good quality spessartines are much higher than red garnets.


Color scale: orange, orange-red, brown-red, yellow. Some of the best specimens are mined in Namibia, Nigeria and Mozambique. Jewelers give them preference because of their unusual properties: fiery color, high hardness and strong shine. Unlike many colored stones, they are not subject to treatment by any methods.


Until the 1990s, spessartines were known only as rare collection stones. Everything changed in 1991 when they were discovered in the north of Namibia. In 1999, a much larger field was discovered in Nigeria. More recently, good quality crystals have been mined in Mozambique. Spessartines also appear in small numbers in Brazil, Myanmar, Madagascar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and the United States. The most expensive are considered bright orange, the so-called “mandarin” garnets from Namibia. They often contain colorless clusters of inclusions characteristic of them, forming a beautiful radiant effect throughout the volume of the stone.


Orange garnet spessartine




Chemical formula:

Mn3Al2 (SiO4) 3

Crystal Systems: 


Mohs scale hardness:


Optical character:



very imperfect


3.15 (+0.05; -0.03) g / cm3


Vitreous to subadamantine

Refractive index:







Yellow Orange, Orange, Red Orange

Interesting facts

  • The second name of spessartine is mandarin garnet.
  • The name of this gemstone is given in honor of the Spessart Mountains in northwestern Bavaria in Germany, where it was first discovered
  • They sometimes distinguish a commercial color for spessartines called “fanta” in the trade.
Orange garnet spessartine


Orange garnets were first found in the mid-19th century in the Spessart Mountains, in Bavaria. Then, in Virginia, USA. They began to enter the world trade arena since 1991, when a field was discovered in the north-west of Namibia in the Kunene River region.
The next major discovery was made in 1999 in Nigeria. In 2001, African alluvial deposits containing this stone began to dry up, and the prices of this garnet crawled up sharply. Spessartines were also found in other parts of the world.
Spessartines of gem quality do not have a long history, so they are known only to a small number of people. Nevertheless, this stone and its bright cheerful color attracts many. Products with spessartines are made by such large jewelry houses as Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Cartier, Dior, etc.


Spessartines are not subject to any kind of treatment.



On the photo: a combination of "mandarin garnets" and Paraiba tourmaline

bright cabochons from deposit in Mozambique

On the photo: bright cabochons from deposit in Mozambique

a large spessartine

Photo of a large spessartine weighing 31.11 carats (Mozambique)

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