Spessartite Garnet Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More
Información de granate espesartita
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spessartite garnet gemstoneSpessartite (or spessartine) garnet is an orange to reddish-brown variety of the gemstone garnet. Long considered a collector’s stone, the discovery of “mandarin” spessartites in the 1990s put them on the public radar.

Not only are orange garnets rare, but spessartite’s bright orange color is untreated!

Come along as we break down spessartite garnet’s properties, grading, prices, history, and more!

spessartite garnet gemstone

What Is Spessartite Garnet?

Spessartite garnet is a semi-precious gemstone also called:

  • Erinite

  • Partschinite

  • Fanta Garnet

What’s the difference between spessartite and spessartine?

Technically, nothing. Gemologists use “spessartite” more often while mineralogists use “spessartine” more often.

However, “spessartite” also refers to an igneous rock with no relation to the garnet.

As a garnet, spessartite is a January birthstone, lucky stone for Aquarius, and 2nd wedding anniversary gem.

Spessartite Garnet Specifications & Characteristics

The garnet family has two main series: pyralspite and ugrandite. Spessartite is one of the three species in the pyralspite group, along with pyrope and almandine.

Pyralspite garnets are aluminum silicates with different elements in the X site (the first element listed in the formula). Spessartite’s formula is Mn3Al2Si3O12 or Mn3Al2(SiO4)3, as it’s a manganese aluminum silicate.

Buyers may confuse spessartite vs hessonite garnet, which is usually yellow to orange. However, hessonite is a grossular variety with a lower refractive index (1.731 to 1.754) and lower Mohs hardness (6.5). Color-wise, hessonite is usually browner and redder in hue than spessartite.

Here are the spessartite garnet properties listed:

  • Mohs hardness: 6.5-7.5

  • Color: Yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, red, reddish-brown, brown

  • Crystal structure: Isometric/cubic

  • Luster: Vitreous (glassy), resinous, or sub-adamantine

  • Transparency: Transparent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.79-1.985

  • Density: 3.80-4.25

  • Cleavage: None

  • Fracture: Conchoidal or subconchoidal

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: None

  • Pleochroism: None

  • Birefringence: None

  • Dispersion: 0.027 (moderate)

  • Optical effects: Color-change, chatoyancy

Types of Spessartite Garnet

The main types of spessartite garnet are:

Mandarin Garnet

mandarin garnet gemstones parcel loaf cabochons

Mandarin garnet is a trade name for bright, pure orange spessartite garnet. These stones are quite rare and valuable with the highest spessartite content.

Malaya (or Malaia) Garnet

malaya garnet spessartite gemstone faceted

Malaya, or Malaia, garnets are usually a mixture of pyrope and spessartite, sometimes with almandine, grossular, and a little andradite. The color ranges from yellow to red, with intermediate shades like pinkish-orange, yellow-orange, and orange. The pinkish form is most popular.

These garnets are noted for sparkling red flashes and occasional color-changing abilities.

A notable subtype of Malaya garnet is Umbalite garnet, a trade name for Malaya garnets (or rhodolites, depending on who you ask) from the Umba Valley of Tanzania. These stones have bright magenta-rose coloring with flashes of pale pink.


Kashmirine is a trade name for a rare spessartite variety discovered in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, in 1993. These stones are yellow-orange, red-orange, or brownish-orange.

Color-Changing Spessartite Garnet

color changing spessartite malaya garnet gemstone

The most common color-changing garnets are spessartite-pyrope mixtures. One example is color-changing Malaya garnets, which may appear pink, salmon, or magenta in daylight and reddish-pink, light purple, pink, or pink-orange in incandescence.

East African color-changing garnets are mostly spessartite with surprisingly high grossular content and considerable vanadium and chromium impurities, which contribute to the color-change.

The colors can shift from greenish yellow-brown to purplish-red to reddish-orange or red, seen in spessartite-almandine-grossular specimens. Spessartite-grossular-pyrope specimens can shift from light blue-green to purple to light red or purplish-red.

Vanadium-rich pyrope-spessartite garnets from Sri Lanka or East Africa can shift from green in daylight to red in incandescence, similar to alexandrite.

Cat’s Eye Spessartite Garnet

Another optically phenomenal type is cat’s eye spessartite garnet. They reflect a ray of light along their surface from inclusions that are hollow tubes, fibrous and parallel, or needle-like bunches.

mandarin spessartite garnet gemstone ring with sapphires

Spessartite Garnet Meaning & History

Garnets symbolize passion, protection, and friendship, but what is the spiritual meaning of spessartite garnet? Spessartite garnets symbolize enthusiasm, creativity, and attraction.


Spessartite garnets were first officially discovered in the Spessart Mountains of Bavaria, Germany — hence the name — in 1797 by German chemist Martin Klaproth. Klaproth originally called them granatförmiges Braunsteinerz, German for “garnet-shaped brownstone ore.”

In 1823, American mineralogist Henry Seybert distinguished specimens from Connecticut, USA, as manganesian garnets. French mineralogist François Sulpice Beudant re-named the stone “spessartite” in 1832.

For decades, spessartite garnets were only well-known among collectors. The stone didn’t gain widespread recognition until the 1990s, when new African deposits of “mandarin” garnets emerged. The vibrant stones became the most valuable spessartites after years of orange-red specimens being most valuable.

Next, what are the healing properties of spessartite garnet?

Spessartite Garnet Healing Properties

As a healing stone, spessartite garnet joins other orange gems in promoting creativity and optimism, especially when used as a sacral chakra stone.

What is spessartite garnet good for physically?

Physical Healing

Physically, spessartite garnets are said to treat or help with:

  • Reproductive health

  • Digestion

  • Nightmares

Emotional Healing

Spessartite garnet can help give you the energy and confidence to enact positive change in your life. It’s also said to boost mental clarity and lower anxiety.

Beyond healing, is spessartite garnet valuable? Definitely, but each specimen’s value depends on certain factors.

spessartite garnet gemstones parcel faceted

Spessartite Garnet Gemstone Properties

Spessartite garnet’s value is graded on color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Spessartites are generally untreated.


Spessartite garnet’s color is idiochromatic, so the manganese in its formula makes it orange. Red and brown undertones come from higher almandine content.

What color spessartite garnet is best? Bright, pure orange hues of “mandarin” garnets and orange-red hues are most valuable. Brown undertones can lower value.


Spessartite garnets are often faceted into trillion, emerald, oval, and cushion shapes. The high refractive index means good faceting will highlight its brilliance.

The specimens cut as cabochons usually have lower clarity or they’re cat’s eye spessartites.


Spessartite is a Type II colored gemstone, meaning some visible inclusions are expected. Oranger specimens tend to have more inclusions, like the small, fibrous tirodite inclusions that cause a “sleepy” look in Namibian mandarin spessartites.

Common inclusions in spessartite garnets:

  • Wavy feathers (from trapped liquid drops; sometimes 2-phase)

  • Rutile needles

Fewer inclusions generally means higher value.

Carat Weight

The largest spessartite garnet rough comes from Brazil and Madagascar, yielding faceted gems over 100 carats. However, good-quality spessartite gems are usually under 20 carats with high-quality gems typically under 4 carats. Faceted Namibian mandarin garnets are rare over 5 carats.

Synthetics & Simulants

Synthetic spessartites have been created for research, but they’re not sold as gems. The only truly synthetic option is yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) given spessartite colors.

More often, you’ll see simulants available. Common simulants are hessonite, synthetic corundum, colored cubic zirconia, or glass.

spessartite garnet gemstone rough crystal specimen

Spessartite Garnet Formation & Sources

Garnets like spessartite usually form inside aluminum-rich sedimentary rocks undergoing metamorphism. The process often happens at convergent tectonic plates and involves heat and pressure changing the composition of minerals inside, creating new minerals like garnet.

Because garnets are so tough, they’re one of the only minerals left behind after intense weathering. Spessartite rough is usually found in granite pegmatites, rhyolite, gneiss, and quartzite.

Mining Locations

Currently, the top sources of spessartite garnet are Nigeria, Tanzania, and Namibia, which are also the only sources of mandarin garnet.

Other significant spessartite sources are:

  • Afghanistan

  • Australia

  • Brazil

  • China

  • Germany

  • Italy

  • Kenya

  • Madagascar

  • Mexico

  • Mozambique

  • Myanmar

  • Norway

  • Pakistan

  • South Africa

  • Sri Lanka

  • USA (California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia)

  • Zambia

Cat’s eye spessartite has only been found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Namibia.

The Little 3 Mine in California, USA, has produced some of the highest-quality spessartites, but since it’s closed, this material is scarce and costly.

spessartite garnet gemstone ring

Spessartite Garnet Price & Value

Besides quality, the price per carat of spessartite garnet can also depend on its source and size. Starting with faceted red spessartites:

African (Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania): $200-$400 per carat (0.5-3 cts); $400-$750 per carat (3-6 cts)

Little 3 Mine: $100-$1,000 per carat (0.5-3 cts); $130-$1,000 per carat (3-6 cts)

Darker Reds: $75-$250 per carat (0.5-3 cts)

Nigerian spessartite gems weighing 15-20 carats can reach $900 per carat. Faceted mandarin garnets range from $200-$1,200 per carat, though some over 5 carats can be above $2,400 per carat.

Spessartite cabochons are generally $1-$20 per carat.

What is the rough price of spessartite garnet? Our spessartite garnet rough ranges from around $10 to $930.

Spessartite garnet jewelry starts around $15 and reaches upwards of $2,100.

Spessartite Garnet Care and Maintenance

Luckily for gemstone care, spessartite garnet is a durable jewelry stone, even in engagement rings. Lots of inclusions can make spessartite weaker, though.

You can use ultrasonic cleaners on most spessartites but not if they’re heavily included. The safest cleaning method is warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush.

Keep spessartite away from steamers, acids, or heat. Store separately from other gems.

spessartite garnet gemstone faceted

Spellbound by Spessartite?

With sunny hues and brilliance, spessartite garnet is a perfect gem for any jewelry. Soak up the warmth spessartite garnet by finding your favorite!

Buy spessartite garnet gemstones today!

Spessartite Garnet es miembro de la serie Isomophorous of Garnets. Todos los granates pertenecen al grupo de minerales Granate que se divide en dos grupos principales. Spessartine varía en color de rojo anaranjado intenso a brillante Fanta o mandarina.

Información de granate espesartita

Historia del granate espesartino

Este granate irrumpió en escena en 1991 y nuevamente en 1999 con hallazgos en NE. Namibia.

Spessartine Garnet Visuals

Spessartine es cada vez más apreciada por la gran intensidad, el brillo y la belleza de los brillantes naranjas y rojos. Los mejores Spessartines en este momento vienen de Namibia. Spessartine es una piedra pesada con una alta gravedad específica.

Información de granate espesartita

Especificaciones de Spessartine Garnet

  • Dureza en la escala de Mohs: 7.25
  • Dureza: buena
  • Lustre: Vítreo
  • Gravedad específica: 4.10-4.20
  • Índice de refracción: 1,79-1,82 *
  • Escote: Ninguno
  • Fórmula química general: Mn3AL2 (SiO4) 3

* Los granates Spessartine se encuentran principalmente sobre el RI del líquido de contacto utilizado.

Forma de cristal

Todo granate cristaliza en el sistema cúbico. Con la simetría más alta, los cristales pueden tomar la forma de un cubo, un octaedro o un dodecaedro pentagonal (¡dilo atrás!) También existen cristales esféricos.

Información de granate espesartita

Inclusiones comunes en granate espesartina

Mire con un bucle las plumas onduladas que consisten en gotitas líquidas, más a menudo con un aspecto desmenuzado. Asegúrate de no estar viendo un granate hessonita.

Minas de granate espesartina

Namibia: Río Kunene y alrededores, Tanzania: Región, China: Tongbei Brasil: Navegador, Minas Gerais. Gilgit / Kashmir - Paikistan, mina Betts, MA, EE. UU.

Valor del granate espesartino

Como con todas las piedras se aplican los 4C. Las piedras más pequeñas de hasta 2 quilates son más fáciles de conseguir: el color es la prima con esta piedra preciosa. Las piedras de 4 o 5 quilates hacia arriba que están limpias son muy apreciadas. Existen piedras más grandes, pero es difícil encontrarlas libres de inclusiones. Tengo un Spessartine grande que es Fire Engine Red con muchas inclusiones y creo que es más hermoso que una piedra limpia. Los Red Fire Engine y las naranjas Fanta / Mandarin son los mejores.

Spessartine no se calienta ni se trata. Piedras similares son: ópalo de fuego mexicano, circonio, zafiro Songea, granate hessonita y turmalina naranja. Esta piedra es una buena inversión si obtienes la correcta. No se trata a diferencia de Songea Sapphire. Nos hemos dado cuenta de muchos Hessonites llamados erróneamente Spessartines.

Información de granate espesartita


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