Mandarin Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

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

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Almandine Garnet - Top Color: oR, R, PR, rP 6/4

All Sizes
Almandine
to /ct

Almandine/Pyrope Garnet Blend (Mozambique) - Red-Brown Colors

All Sizes
Mozambique
to /ct

Rhodolite (Almandine/Pyrope Blend) - Fine Color: rP, PR 6/5

.5 to 1 carat
Faceted
to /ct
Cabochons
to /ct
1 to 10 carats
Faceted
to /ct
Cabochons
to /ct
10 carats plus
Faceted
to /ct
Cabochons
to /ct

Andradite - Fine Color: G 5/4

All Sizes
Andradite
to /ct

Demantoid Garnet

to 1 carat
Demantoid
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1 to 3 carats
Demantoid
to /ct

Grossular Garnet

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

Hessonite Garnet - Fine Color: yO 4/5

All Sizes
Hessonite Garnet
to /ct

Tsavorite Garnet - Fine Color: G 6/5

.5 to 1 carat
Tsavorite
to /ct
1 to 2 carats
Tsavorite
to /ct
2 carats plus
Tsavorite
to /ct

Mali Garnet (Andradite/Grossular Blend)

All Sizes
Mali Garnet
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Malaya (Malaia) Garnets

.5 to 1 carat
Malaya (Malaia) Garnets
to /ct
1 to 5 carats
Malaya (Malaia) Garnets
to /ct
5 carats plus
Malaya (Malaia) Garnets
to /ct

Pyrope - Fine Color: R 6/5

1 carat plus
Pyrope
/ct

Chrome Pyrope

All Sizes
Chrome Pyrope
to /ct

Spessartite Reds

.5 to 3 carats
Little 3 Mine
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African
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Darker reds
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3 to 6 carats
Little 3 Mine
to /ct
African
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Darker reds

Mandarin Garnet - Orange - Fine Color: O 4/5

All Sizes
Mandarin Orange
to /ct

Uvarovite

10 carats plus
Druzy
to /ct

Star Garnet

All Sizes
4 Ray Star
to /ct
6 Ray Star
to /ct

Color Change Garnet

.5 to 1 carat
Africa
to /ct
United States
to /ct
1 to 6 carats
Africa
to /ct
United States
to /ct

Cabochons

All Sizes
Common Red to Purple
to /ct
View Almandine Garnet Profile

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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.

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
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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