Mandarin Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Mandarin garnet - orange spessarite garnet
“Mandarin Orange Spessartite Garnets from Africa.” © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.

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

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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Mandarin Garnet Information

DataValue
NameMandarin Garnet
Is a Variety ofSpessartite
Crystallography Isometric
Refractive Index 1.789 - 1.797
Colors Orange
Luster Vitreous
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness 7 - 7.5
Toughness Good
Specific Gravity 4.09 - 4.15
Cleavage None
Dispersion 0.027
Spectral Lines at 4080, 4210, 4300, 4570, 4830, and 5270.
Wearability Good
Transparency Transparent, translucent
Birthstone January (Garnet)
FormulaMn3Al2Si3O12
EtymologyAfter the color, “mandarin orange.”
OccurrenceSchist, gneiss
Inclusions Curved fibers; round and angular crystals: quartz, fibrous amphibole, barite; oxide minerals
Mandarin Garnet on Schist Matrix
“Spessartine Garnet” on schist matrix, Marienfluss, Kunene Region, Namibia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

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 is 85 mol.% spessartite, 12.5 mol.% pyrope garnet, and 2.5 mol.% grossular garnet. The high manganese (Mn) content of spessartite is what creates their striking orange color. In Nigeria in 1998, gem-quality spessartite was discovered with an orange color that approaches that of the Namibian material and is 95 mol.% spessartite. 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.

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

Mandarin garnet has not been synthesized. However, orange glass and as well as orange yttrium aluminium garnet (YAG), a synthetic garnet, have been used as simulants.

Enhancements

These gemstones do not normally receive any treatments or enhancements, which makes them very desirable to collectors and enthusiasts of natural gems.

“Spessartine Garnet,” mandarin orange crystal, Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.
“Spessartine Garnet,” mandarin orange crystal, Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Sources

  • Namibia (Northwest): Marienfluss, Kunene Region
  • Nigeria, Tanzania.

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-shape 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 were sold 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
“Garnet Ring with Cognac Diamonds,” 39.35-ct mandarin garnet, designed and created by Ernesto Moreira, Houston Museum of Natural Science, by Assignment Houston One is licensed under CC By-SA 2.5