grape pyrope garnet - Congo
grape pyrope garnet - Congo

Pyrope Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Pyrope always occurs in series with other garnet species. Common, dark red garnets are a mixture of almandine and pyrope. Other mixtures also occur, in colors than can range from pale orange and pink to purple.

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Pyrope always occurs in series with other garnet species. Common, dark red garnets are a mixture of almandine and pyrope. Other mixtures also occur, in colors than can range from pale orange and pink to purple.

grape pyrope garnet - Congo
Pyrope garnet, 10.53 cts, 13.5 x 13.5 x 10 mm, Congo, “Concave Round Brilliant Cut” by Loren Brown. © RSA Gems. Used with permission.

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Pyrope Garnet Value

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Large, clean pyropes of lively color are very rare and would be very expensive.

pyrope garnet on matrix
Pyrope crystal on matrix. Photo by Géry Parent. Public Domain.

Comments

Pure pyropes (end member in the series) are unknown in nature. The purest gem-quality specimen ever discovered contained about 83% pyrope, 15% almandine, and about 2% other garnets. (The purest non-gem quality specimen, discovered in the Dora Maira massif in the western Alps, contained 98% pyrope).

Pyropes always contain some almandine and spessartite components. The almandine component can easily be detected spectroscopically. Gems sold simply as "pyropes," especially in large sizes, are usually almandines with a pyrope component.

GIA gemologists have examined pyropes with a dark brown to black color. These stones contained a slight admixture of andradite with black ilmenite inclusions.

Round pyrope-almandine garnet, 2.30 cts, Africa. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Jasper52.

Pyrope Varieties and Blends

Chrome Pyrope

Chrome pyropes are popular stones with color that can rival rubies. In Arizona, ants have brought these gems to the surface, hence their nickname, "anthill garnets." Although chrome pyropes have superb color, they have very dark tone.

Long known only from Arizona sources, chrome pyropes have also been found in Tanzania.

round brilliant chrome pyrope - Tanzania
Round, brilliant-cut chrome pyrope, 2.41 cts, 8.1 mm, Tanzania. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Color Change Garnet

Some pyropes show an interesting color change. Material from Norway (N=1.747, SG=3.715) can show a wine red color in incandescent light and violet in daylight. However, these stones are very small (about half a carat).

Pyrope-spessartites (with some Ca and Ti) from the Umba Valley in Tanzania (N=1.757, SG=3.816) can show greenish blue color in daylight and magenta in tungsten light. They have inclusions of plates of hematite and rutile needles. All these color-change pyrope-spessartites have absorption bands at 4100, 4210, and 4300 that may merge to form a cutoff at 4350. In stones with a strong change of color, a band at 5730 is broad and strong.

Almandine-pyropes from Idaho can show a strong red to purplish red color shift under incandescent and LED light.

Pale pink to orange "pastel pyropes" from East Africa may show pink color in incandescent light and purple in fluorescent.

Malaia Garnet

Another popular gemstone, malaia or malaya garnets may be pyrope-spessartites or even pyralspites — a blend of pyrope, almandine, and spessartite. Their colors range from red through shades of orange and brownish orange to peach and pink.

Rhodolite

Purplish red rhodolite garnets are a blend of almandine and pyrope with small amounts of other garnet species. Rhodolites with higher spessartite content have lighter colors.

rhodolite garnet crystals - Kenya
Rhodolite crystals, 7.95 and 6.96 cts, Lokirima, Lodwar, Turkana District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Synthetics

Scientists have synthesized pyropes, both pure and in series with other garnet species, for research into their chemical and physical properties. You may rarely encounter lab-created pyropes in jewelry. (Note that pure pyropes would be colorless). However, you're more likely to find simulants used in jewelry, lookalikes such as colored glass or cubic zirconia (CZ) or even other natural, red gemstones misidentified (or deliberately misrepresented) as pyropes.

Enhancements

Like most garnets, pyropes typically receive no treatments. However, in the 1970s, some almandine-pyropes were heated, adding a gray metallic sheen to their red color. Known as "Proteus garnets," these are no longer commercially produced.

Sources

The area near Třebenice (Trebnitz), Czech Republic produces the best-known pyropes, the so-called Bohemian garnets, which occur in volcanic breccia, tuffs, and conglomerates. These garnets supported a major local industry in the 19th century. Today, production continues but on a smaller scale. An enormous quantity of pyrope from these mines has been sold over the years.

Vintage Bohemian garnet earrings
Earrings from a vintage suite of Bohemian garnet (pyrope) jewelry. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Brunk Auctions.

South Africa produces pyropes with superb, blood red color but in small sizes. These garnets occur in kimberlite and eclogite associated with diamonds. Pyropes not only occur with diamonds but also sometimes form as crystal inclusions within diamonds.

Other notable gem-quality sources include the following localities:

  • Australia: Bingara, New South Wales; Anakie, Queensland.
  • United States: Arizona; Arkansas; New Mexico; North Carolina; Utah.
  • Argentina; Brazil; China; Congo; India; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mozambique; Ottery, Norway; Transbaikal, Russia; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Vietnam.
pyralspite garnet - Malawi
A pyralspite garnet, a blend of pyrope, almandine, and spessartite, from Malawi. 4.81 cts, 1.7 x 9.1 x 6.9 mm. © RSA Gems. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Pyropes of large size are extremely rare. Faceted stones over 1-2 carats usually appear very dark.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna holds many large pyropes. (There are stories about specimens the size of hen's eggs in the former Imperial Treasury in Vienna).

The Green Vault in Dresden, Germany contain a huge pyrope said to be the size of a pigeon's egg. Reports of a 468.5-ct gem also appear in the literature.

large 3.810.80-ct pyrope cabochon
This opaque pyrope cabochon weighs a hefty 3,810.80 cts and measures 70.07 mm across. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Pioneer Auction Gallery.

Care

With no cleavage and a hardness of 7-7.5, pyropes make durable stones for any type of jewelry setting. However, take care when cleaning these gems. Inclusions may burst due to extreme heat or ultrasound and fracture the gem. Avoid mechanical cleaning systems and stick to a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water, instead.

See our gemstone jewelry care guide for more recommendations.

cocktail ring with diamond and pyropes
14k yellow gold cocktail ring with 8 oval-cut pyropes surrounding pavé-set diamonds, 2.82 ctw. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and London Gallery Auctions.

Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., FGA

Dr. Joel E. Arem has more than 60 years of experience in the world of gems and minerals. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Mineralogy from Harvard University, he has published numerous books that are still among the most widely used references and guidebooks on crystals, gems and minerals in the world.

Co-founder and President of numerous organizations, Dr. Arem has enjoyed a lifelong career in mineralogy and gemology. He has been a Smithsonian scientist and Curator, a consultant to many well-known companies and institutions, and a prolific author and speaker. Although his main activities have been as a gem cutter and dealer, his focus has always been education. joelarem.com


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