Spessartine Garnet

by

Brandon Milner

www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/students/milner

This webpage project was created for a gemstones and gemology course in the 2007 spring semester at Emporia State University. The assignment was to learn webpage creation, as well as present knowledge on the characteristics of spessartine, a special variety of garnet.

This picture shows the soccer ball shape that helps
to classify all varieties of garnet. The image was taken from
Mineral Data (2007), www.mindat.org/min-3725.html.


Table of Contents


Introduction

The mineral and gemstone known as Spessartine is one variety of garnet that was thought to be rare until recently. A new source has made this mineral more common and brought international fame because it no longer faces the problem of having a limited supply. Overall specimens that are gem quality are being found in Namibia, which will continue to bring increased recognition to this gemstone. This gemstone has not been known as one of the big guns of gems, which include diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and topaz. The gem-quality spessartine is also known as spessartite, mandarin spessartine, partschinite, and erinite (Ralph J. and Ralph I., 1993-2007).

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Origin

Spessartine is named after a forest in Balavia, Germany and was first discovered in 1832 (Mineral Data, 1993-2007). Spessartine is a rare find and it is hard to find gem quality specimens. This red to orange variety of garnet can also be called spessartite garnet. A special gem quality spessartine was found in Namibia, Africa and named mandarin spessartite.

Spessartine is named from a Spessart, which is a forested area in Bavaria, Germany (Kaufman, 2007). The map shows the location of Bavaria.


Image to the left was taken from Photius Coutsoukis and Information Technology Associates (1996-2007) and urban.csuohio.edu/~sanda/pic/travel/germany.

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Spessartine Varieties

This is the normal color of a spessartine that is from Nigeria.

Image photo by Wimon Manorotkul and was taken from
palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm and Hughes (1999-2007).

There are a few different types of Spessartine Garnet that result in slight changes in the chemical composition of the gem. Magnesium is the main element that gives Spessartine its rare orange color.


This photo was by Wimon Manorotkul and was taken from palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm and Hughes (1999-2007).

This image is a rare purple pyrope-spessartine garnet.


Photo by Wimon Manorotkul and was taken from palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm and Hughes (1999-2007).

This is the purest type of spessartine called mandarin spessartine and found in Namibia.


Photo by Wimon Manorotkul and was taken from palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm and Hughes (1999-2007).

For more information on the different varieties of Spessartine, visit palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm.

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Physical and Chemical Properties

Luster = Vitreous

Transparency = Translucent to Transparent

Streak = White

Hardness = 6.5 to 7.5

Single or Double Refraction = Single Refraction

Chemical Composition = Manganese Aluminum Silicate

Mineral Classification = Silicate Family

Refraction Index = Range of single refraction 1.790-1.820

Fracture/Cleavage = Fracture (Subconchoidal)

Density = 4.12 grams per cubic centimeter

Crystal System = Isometric

Colors = Red, Orange, Brown, Yellow and all assortments mixed

For more information regarding the physical and chemical characteristics of spessartine, visit rruff.geo.arizona.edu/doclib/hom/spessartine.pdf

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Spessartine Geographic and Geologic Locations

Even though spessartine is relatively rare, it is geographically found in Germany, Greece, Pakistan, Austrailia, China, Namibia, and Nigeria. Places in the U.S where it can be found include Colorado, California, Delaware, Virginia, and Nevada.

Geologically, spessartine can be found in both metamorphic and igneous rock types. Examples include:

Metamorphic Rocks- These rocks are formed by deforming other rock types through pressure and heat (Wikipedia, 2007). This will then change the texture of the existing rock and the mineral make-up. The amount of heat and pressure must be sufficiently higher than the conditions on Earth to be able to deform the rock or mineral.

Igneous Rocks- These rocks come from molten material from inside the Earth. The magma can form igneous rocks in two different ways. The first way involves having magma cool on the inside of the Earth before it reaches the surface to form a rock or mineral when it cools. The second way is about having the magma actually make it to the surface of Earth and then cooling after it is on Earth's surface (Wikipedia, 2007). Spessartine is also found in pegmatite types of igneous rock. A pegmatite shows large crystals throughout the material, instead of being uniform.

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Pricing of Spessartine

The pricing of spessartine can be one that is tricky because of the quality of the gems being found and overall quantity of gems in the world available for use. Spessartine was once just a rare gem that was held by collectors around the world.

Today though, more spessartine is used for jewelry as new mines, such as ones discovered in Nigeria, bring new gems to the market all the time. "The pricing of the Spessartines that come from the mines in Nigeria can range from $100-$250 per carat from the 1-4 carat range and around $900 a carat range for 15-20 carats of Spessartine" (Hughes, 2007).

The rare mandarin spessartine, which comes from Namibia, is more expensive as they are hard to come by. "Pricing usually ranges from $800 for 1-2 carat size of the Spessartine, to over $1000 for carat sizes over 5 carats" (Hughes, 2007).

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Spessartine as a Healing Stone

Some believe spessartine has healing qualities. Here is a short list of quite a few different things that are believed to be healed or affected by spessartine.

Bad Dreams

Depression

Anger

Self-Esteem

Hemorrages

Hormone Imbalances

Inflammations

Sexual Diseases

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Table of Contents.

References

Coutsoukis, P. and Information Technology Associates (2006). Quick Maps, Theodora Maps Web site: http://www.theodora.com/maps/.

Gem Hut, (1995-2003). Spessartine Garnet, Gem Hut Web site: http://www.gemhut.com/ssgarnet.htm.

Hughes, R., (2007). Palagems.com Spessartite (Spessartine) Buying Guide, Palagems Web site: http://palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm.

Mineral Data, (2007). Spessartine, Mineral Data Web site: http://www.webmineral.com/data/Spessartine.shtml.

Mineral Data Publishing version 1.2, (2001). Spessartine, Mineral Data Publishing version 1.2 Web site: http://rruff.geo.arizona.edu/doclib/hom/spessartine.pdf.

New York Times Company, (2007). Spessartine Garnet, About Web site: http://geology.about.com/library/bl/images/blspessartine.htm.

Ralph, J. and Ralph, I. (1993-2007). Spessartine, Mineral Data Web site: http://www.mindat.org/min-3725.html.

State History Guide, (2007). Garnet and Gemstones, State History Guide Resources Web site: http://www.shgresources.com/gems/stones/garnet/.

Wikipedia, (2007). Rock (geology), Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_(geology).

Wikipedia, (2007). Spessartine, Wikipedia Web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spessartine.

Recommended Links

GO 340 Gemstones Syllabus
www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/syllabus.htm
GO 340 WebPage Assignment
www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/webpage.htm
Past GO 340 Student WebPages
www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/students/stupages.htm
GO 340 Gemstone Links
www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/gemlinks.htm


For more information email milner_brandon@emporia.edu.

This Webpage was created on May 7th, 2007; last update May 28, 2007.