What Is A Rhodolite Gem?


“Rhodolite Garnet.” Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.
A rhodolite from Tanzania. “Rhodolite Garnet.” © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Question

I recently bought a rhodolite. It’s clean and has a beautiful dark red color. My problem is simply that I’m wondering if it’s truly rhodolite or some other type of garnet. This is the first time I’ve purchased this garnet variety. Is rhodolite usually dark in color? My stone also cost less than $1.00 per carat. Please let me know what you think.

Answer

Garnets are always a mixture of species. Rhodolite refers to the color garnet you get when you have a ratio of three parts almandine to seven parts pyrope. However, there are always other garnet species in the mix. Even a small amount can affect the color. For example, the more spessartite in the gem, the lighter the color. Most garnets on the market today are from East African deposits and are fairly light. However, that isn’t always the case. Rhodolites from other parts of the world are usually much darker. Rhodolite refers to a garnet stone with a rhododendron purple color and has nothing to do with the saturation.

Donald Clark, CSM IMG