• Mandarin Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

    Mandarin garnet (spessartite), 20.04 cts, 15 x 13 x 12 mm, Namibia. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Mandarin Garnet

    While the colors of spessartine or spessartite garnet gemstones cover a wide range of orange shades, the mandarin garnet is as pure orange as this variety can be. Discovered in Namibia in the 1990s, this rare gem is highly desired as a jewelry stone for its eye-catching color, brilliance, and hardness.

    Mandarin Garnet Value

    The purer the orange color, the more valuable the mandarin garnet.

    For more detailed information on quality factors for mandarin and other varieties of garnets, consult our garnet buying guide.

    Mandarin garnet rough - Africa

    Mandarin orange spessartite garnets from Africa. ? Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

    The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

    Garnet Value via Gem Price Guide

    Almandine

    Top Color: oR, R, PR, rP 6/4
    Almandine All sizes
    to /ct

    Almandine/Pyrope Blend ("Mozambique")

    Red-Brown Colors
    "Mozambique" All sizes
    to /ct

    Rhodolite (Almandine/Pyrope Blend)

    Fine Color: rP, PR 6/5
    Rhodolite .5 to 1 carat 1 to 10 carats 10 carats plus
    Faceted to /ct to /ct to /ct
    Cabochons to /ct to /ct to /ct

    Andradite

    Fine Color: G 5/4
    Andradite All sizes
    to /ct

    Demantoid

    Demantoid to 1 carat 1 to 3 carats
    to ,200/ct to ,000/ct

    Grossular

    Grossular .5 to 1 carat 1 to 5 carats 5 carats plus
    Mint Green (Merelani) to /ct to /ct to /ct
    Yellow/Orange to /ct to /ct to /ct
    Yellow/Green to /ct to /ct to /ct
    Other colors /ct /ct to /ct

    Hessonite

    Fine Color: yO 4/5
    Hessonite Garnet All sizes
    to /ct

    Tsavorite

    Fine Color: G 6/5
    Tsavorite .5 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
    Faceted to /ct to ,500/ct to ,000/ct

    Mali Garnets (Andradite/Grossular Blend)

    Mali Garnet All sizes
    to /ct

    Malaya (Malaia) Garnets

    Malaya Garnet .5 to 1 carat 1 to 5 carats 5 carats plus
    to /ct to /ct to /ct

    Pyrope

    Fine Color: R 6/5
    Pyrope 1 carat plus
    /ct

    Chrome Pyrope

    Chrome Pyrope All sizes
    to /ct

    Spessartite

    Spessartite Reds .5 to 3 carats 3 to 6 carats
    Little 3 Mine to ,000/ct to ,000/ct
    African to /ct to /ct
    Darker reds to /ct

    Mandarin

    Fine Color: O 4/5
    Mandarin Orange All sizes
    to ,200/ct

    Uvarovite

    Uvarovite 10 carats plus
    Druzy to /ct

    Star Garnet

    Star Garnet All sizes
    6 ray star to /ct
    4 ray star to /ct

    Color Change

    Color Change .5 to 1 carat 1 to 6 carats
    Africa to ,500/ct to ,000/ct
    US to /ct to /ct

    Cabochons

    Cabochons All Sizes
    Common red to purple to /ct

    Mandarin Garnet Information

    Data Value
    Name Mandarin Garnet
    Is a Variety of Spessartite Garnet
    Crystallography Isometric.
    Refractive Index 1.789-1.797
    Colors Orange
    Luster Vitreous.
    Hardness 7-7.5
    Wearability Good
    Fracture Conchoidal
    Specific Gravity 4.09-4.15
    Birefringence None.
    Cleavage None
    Dispersion 0.027
    Transparency Transparent, translucent
    Absorption Spectrum Lines at 4080, 4210, 4300, 4570, 4830, and 5270.
    Birthstone January (Garnet)
    Formula Mn3Al2Si3O12
    Pleochroism None.
    Optics Isotropic.
    Etymology After the color, “mandarin orange.”
    Occurrence Schist, gneiss
    Inclusions Curved fibers; round and angular crystals: quartz, fibrous amphibole, barite; oxide minerals
    pear-cut mandarin garnet

    Pear-cut mandarin orange spessartite garnet, 4.66 cts, 11.6 x 8.8 x 5.4 mm, Namibia. Image courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Simrit Collections.

    Comments

    Mandarin garnet is unequivocally orange, but its exact definition can vary. “Mandarin garnet” has been used as a trade name for vivid orange spessartite garnets from Namibia as well as a trade name for all spessartite garnets that possess that color. In the mid 1990s, the only garnets that fit either description were from Namibia. Like other garnets, these gemstones were mixed species. Their average composition was 85 mol.% spessartite, 12.5 mol.% pyrope garnet, and 2.5 mol.% grossular garnet. The high manganese (Mn) content of spessartite gave them their striking orange color.

    In 1998, Nigeria began producing gem-quality spessartite (95 mol.%) with an orange color that approaches that of the Namibian material. In 2007, gem-quality orange spessartite was discovered in Tanzania with a composition very close to the Namibian stones: 77.5 mol.% spessartite, 17.9 mol.% pyrope, and 4.6 mol.% grossular.

    mandarin garnet crystal - Tanzania

    Mandarin orange crystal (spessartite garnet), Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Whether defined by color, source, or chemical composition, Mandarin garnets made a splash in the jewelry world. Spessartite garnets are rare, and facetable material rarer still. The discovery of these gem-quality African gemstones meant jewelers and consumers could explore and enjoy the brilliance of these garnets.

    Synthetics

    Laboratories haven’t synthesized mandarin garnets. However, orange glass?as well as orange yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG), a synthetic garnet, have served as simulants.

    Enhancements

    These gemstones don’t normally receive any treatments or enhancements, thus making them very desirable to collectors and enthusiasts of natural gems.

    Sources

    • Namibia (Northwest): Marienfluss, Kunene Region
    • Nigeria; Tanzania.
    mandarin garnet - Marienfluss, Kunene, Namibia

    This spessartite garnet crystal in schist matrix displays the classic mandarin orange hue. Marienfluss, Kunene Region, Namibia, 5.0 x 4.7 x 3.0 cm. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Stone Sizes

    Mandarin garnets greater than 10 carats are extremely rare. At the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 1995, Colgem displayed a faceted, cushion-shaped 29.77-ct stone and an eye-clean triangular mix-cut 14.77-ct stone. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a gold ring with a faceted 39.35-ct mandarin garnet on display.

    Trade Names

    When first discovered, mandarin garnets received trade names such as “hollandines” and “Kunene spessartines.”

    Care

    The use of warm water, detergent, and a soft brush is the recommended cleaning method for all garnets. Consult our gem care guide and jewelry cleaning guide for more information.

    mandarin garnet and cognac diamond ring

    Ring with cognac diamonds and a 39.35-ct mandarin garnet, designed and created by Ernesto Moreira, Houston Museum of Natural Science. Photo by Assignment Houston One. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.5.

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