Malaya or Malaia Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Malaia Garnet - 3.10 cts
“Garnet,” 3.10 cts, Barion octagon cut, orangey red. With a refractive index of 1.75, this is probably a malaia garnet. © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

Garnets are a complicated family. The story of malaya or malaia garnet illustrates this well. Discovered in the 1960s in the Umba Valley in Tanzania, these pink gems were called malaia, Swahili for “out of the family.” Miners who were being paid to search for violet rhodolite literally set aside these finds. At that time, they didn't fit into any known garnet varieties. When malaia garnet came to the attention of the gem world in the 1970s, however, the outcast quickly became quite popular and valuable. These gems have since been found in a wider range of colors than the pink that initially garnered so much attention.

Malaia Garnet Value

Malaia garnet value increases as the tone lightens.

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Garnet Value via Gem Price Guide
Top Color: oR, R, PR, rP 6/4
Almandine All sizes
to /ct
Fine Color Andradite: G 5/4
Andradite All sizes
to /ct
Chrome Pyrope All sizes
to /ct
Color Change .5 to 1 carat 1 to 6 carats
Africa to /ct to /ct
US to /ct to /ct
Demantoid to 1 carat 1 to 3 carats
to /ct to ,000/ct
Grossular Garnet .5 to 1 carat 1 to 5 carats 5 carats plus
Mint Green (Merlani) 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
Fine Color Hessonite: yO 4/5
Hessonite Garnet All sizes
to /ct
Malaya Garnet .5 to 1 carat 1 to 5 carats 5 carats plus
to /ct to /ct to /ct
Mozambique All sizes
to /ct
Mali Garnet All sizes
to /ct
Fine Color Spessartite: O 4/5
Mandarin Orange All sizes
to /ct
Fine Color Pyrope: R 6/5
Pyrope 1 carat plus
/ct
Fine Color Rhodolite: 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
Spessartite Reds See Mandarin above .5 to 3 carats 3 to 6 carats
Little 3 Mine to /ct to /ct
African to /ct to /ct
Darker reds to /ct
Star Garnet All sizes
6 ray star to /ct
4 ray star to /ct
Fine Color Tsavorite: G 6/5
Tsavorite .5 to 1 carat 1 to 2 carats 2 carats plus
Faceted to /ct to /ct to ,000/ct
Uvarovite 10 carats plus
Druzy to /ct
Cabochons All Sizes
Common red to purple to /ct

See the entire Gem Price Guide.

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Malaia Garnet Information

DataValue
NameMalaia Garnet
Is a Variety ofGarnet
Alternate Common NamesMalaya Garnet
Crystallography Isometric
Refractive Index 1.74–1.78
Colors Various shades of red, red-orange, orange, brownish orange, yellowish orange, peach, and pink.
Luster Vitreous
Polish Luster Vitreous
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness 7-7.5
Specific Gravity 3.75-4.00
Cleavage None
Dispersion 0.022-0.027
Transparency Transparent to opaque
Absorption Spectrum Absorption bands are always visible at 4100, 4210, and 4300 that may merge to form a cutoff at 4350. There may also be absorption bands at 4600, 4800, 5040, 5200, and 5370.
Birthstone January (Garnet)
FormulaA3B2Si3O12. A = Mn, Mg, Fe. B = Al, Fe, V, Cr.
EtymologyFrom the Swahili word malaia, meaning “out of the family” or “outcast.”
OccurrenceAlluvial deposits
Inclusions Rutile, pyrite, or apatite needles.
Malaia Garnet - Tanzania
Malaia Garnet: Tanzania (12.80, 11.39, 6.38 // 8.23, 8.56, 14.46). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Comments

Popularity notwithstanding, the rare malaia garnet remains complicated. Currently, the name is used two different ways. It’s a trade name for pyrope-spessartine garnets with light to slightly dark colors ranging from pink, pinkish orange, yellowish orange, orange, to red. It’s also a variety of pyralspite (a blend of pyrope, almandine, and spessartite garnets) with a very wide range of possible mixtures. Malaia garnets may consist of 0-83% pyrope, 2-78% almandine, 2-94% spessartite, and 0-24% grossular, with no more than 4% andradite.

Identifying Characteristics

Some malaia garnets may shift colors under incandescent and fluorescent light. When faceted, they may also show scintillating red flashes due to the presence of chromium or vanadium. Malaia garnet’s absorption spectrum and needle inclusions can also help distinguish these gems from other garnet varieties.

malaia garnet rough
Malaia garnet rough

Enhancements

These gems are not usually enhanced or synthesized.

Sources

The Umba Valley in Tanzania, the first known source of malaia garnet, now rarely produces the material. The gemstone has also been found in Tunduro, Tanzania, as well as Kenya and Madagascar.

Yellowish Malaia Garnet
“3.59-ct Yellowish Pyrope-Spessartine Garnet,” yellow with a hint of orange, likely a variety of malaia garnet. © All That Glitters. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Stones larger than four carats are very rare.

Trade Names

Light peach and pinkish orange malaia garnets are sometimes marketed as “Imperial garnets.” Brownish, pinkish orange specimens from Madagascar with a high anomalous refraction have been called “Imperial malaia garnet.” Tan, beige specimens are marketed as “Champagne garnet.”

Care

Malaia garnets, with their high hardness and excellent dispersion, are excellent stones for faceting. Garnets are best cleaned with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. Consult our Gemstone Care Guide and Gemstone Jewelry Cleaning Guide for more information.

Malaia Garnet Ring
“Malaya Garnet Ring.” © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.