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Help identifying garnet type

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MakingTheGrade

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It occurred to me that I'm curious as to what kind of garnet is in my new ring. It's typically a deep and bright orangish-red giving off more orangey-red flashes, but if you look at the stone from the back, and in low light, you can definitely see some lavender tones at certain angles. You can also see a multitude of very very fine needle like inclusions, and small little air bubbles under the 10x loupe.

It's not nearly as purple as the other rhodolites I have, but neither does it look that the standard pyrope or almandine I see around in stores (that are usually much darker and brownish). There's also like a million garnet subtypes (and it feels like they keep coming up with new ones!).

Any ideas? I've googled it, but haven't come across any great articles on it.
And this article just downright made me laugh a little:
article

Here's the original thread with pics:
Thread
 

innerkitten

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I''m not sure. I bet it''s one of the red types you mentioned. I suppose there is also the chance that it''s synthetic or another type of stone?
I''m curious to hear what you find out though. I really like the ring.
 

MakingTheGrade

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Date: 3/21/2009 3:57:04 PM
Author: innerkitten
I'm not sure. I bet it's one of the red types you mentioned. I suppose there is also the chance that it's synthetic or another type of stone?

I'm curious to hear what you find out though. I really like the ring.
I didn't think about synthetic...mostly because garnet isn't that expensive to begin with, and I'd expect a synthetic to not have inclusions?
I took some more pics of the color, although it's more of a fiery orange-red in person, I couldn't quite get the orange flash.
I took a pic of it with some of the other garnets I had around, it's not nearly as purple as the rhodolite, and obviously not as orange as the spess, lol. It was just for fun :)

My guess is it's just a really nicely colored pyrope (that doesn't have as much brown as usually seen in stores?) But it's just a guess.

idthegarnet.jpg
 

zeolite

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Without going into excessive detail, there are five types of garnet species you are likely to encounter in jewelry, arranged into two groups (named by combining the beginning letters in the group):



Pyralspite group – pyrope, almandite, spessartite



Ugrandite group– uvarovite, grossular, andradite



There are mixture names such as rhodolite and malaia. There are trades names used to enhance marketing, such as mandarin, which are not accepted by gemologists.



If you have a green garnet, you know it has to be grossular or andradite. If you have an intense orange gem with no red, it is likely to be spessartite. With these exceptions, trying to identify garnet by color is hopeless.



There is no point in taking it to a jeweler, or better yet a gemologist, or better yet a gemologist specializing in garnet, and asking them to identify it by sight alone.



Your garnet is not a rhodolite (a name of garnet with some purple when viewed face up). While malaias are pyrope-spessartite mixtures from Tanzania, they tend to orange with low saturation and with brown. You garnet has too much red and intensity to be a malaia.



Your garnet is clearly a pyrope, or almandite, or spessartite, or some mixture of these species. It is extremely unlikely to be synthetic, because man-made garnets are made to imitate diamond (GGG) or intense gem colors (YAG). Red garnets are too common and cheap to bother imitating.



If the mounted garnet table projects above the prongs (or bezel), it would be placed flat on a refractometer, and the refractive index would be measured. Then it would be viewed through a spectroscope to identify absorption bands. These optical tests would indicate the dominant type (pyrope, almandite, spessartite), but most likely your garnet is a mixture of all three.



I am a physicist, gemologist and gem collector. The largest grouping in my collection is garnet, and I am a garnet specialist. My garnet collection would put any museum in the world to shame, including the Smithsonian. I have extensive test measurements on my garnets, that I’m willing to share with GIA. I have a good research relationship with Dr. James Shigley of GIA.



I’d like to comment on that article you reference, How to Distinguish Types of Garnet,
point by point:

1 color – I’ve already mentioned above that it is unreliable



2 brilliance – Garnets of pale tone, superb cutting, and fine polish have amazing brilliance, and can compete favorably with colored diamonds. But these garnets are exceedingly rare. This type of garnet comprises the bulk of my garnet collection. Most garnets are deep red, with dark tone, poor cutting and poor polish.



3 inclusions – most pyralspite garnet have needle and crystal inclusions

4 find out where the stone is from – only a cutter is likely to know this accurately, since he often buys from the seller, who obtained the crystals in that originating county. After the gem is cut, that direct information is often lost. Nearly all of my garnets were purchased from the rough dealer, so I know the origin.

5 check for hardness – since you should not be scratching the cut stone with hardness points, only the actual cutter would know this, and it is extremely unlikely that he would record this on a per stone basis. My cutting records of hardness would be a valuable addition to the GIA data base. The article statement “demantoid and mandarin are even harder than rhodelites and verdelites” is inaccurate. Demantoid is the softest garnet, rhodolites are harder, and verdelite is an old term for green tourmaline.





 

Harriet

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Zeolite,
If the stone is a combination of pyrope, spessartine, and almandine, would that make it a Malaya?
 

MakingTheGrade

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Thank you very much Mr. Zeolite! That was extremely helpful and informative!

And I mentioned that article in jest since it''s advice and facts were pretty off.

I appreciate the lesson in garnets! They truly are fascinating, and quite diverse!
 

glitterata

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Does the age of the ring hold any clues about the likely origin of the garnet, or were garnets common and mined all over at the time (late 19th century)?
 

zeolite

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Date: 3/21/2009 6:38:47 PM
Author: Harriet
Zeolite,
If the stone is a combination of pyrope, spessartine, and almandine, would that make it a Malaya?
No. While malaias probably will contain minor amounts of almandite (iron aluminum garnet), the main two end species are pyrope (magnesium aluminum garnet) and spessartite (manganese aluminum garnet). Malaia or malaya (spelled both ways) started as a trade name for a subgroup of pyrope spessartines from Tanzania. Malaias are mostly all orange of low color saturation and with brown. Pyrope spessartines include a wider range of color and saturation than the subgroup malaia. For example, pyrope spessartines can be a more saturated red-orange, like the vendor picture of this gem.

I would also comment that many of the beautiful gems on this board, with a dominant pink color, are not malaias, but are rhodolites. That is not to take away from their beauty, but that much pink is not a malaia.
 

zeolite

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Date: 3/21/2009 7:01:09 PM
Author: glitterata
Does the age of the ring hold any clues about the likely origin of the garnet, or were garnets common and mined all over at the time (late 19th century)?
A ring of that age, would not be sourced from East Africa. Most of the sources of East Africa began in the late 1960s. It could be from many sources in the world, since pyrope and almandite are very common.
 

MakingTheGrade

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Thanks for all the clarification!

I was wondering if you might be able to recommend some good textbooks for beginners who are looking to learn more about the science and culture of garnets?
 

Pandora II

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Date: 3/21/2009 7:18:22 PM
Author: MakingTheGrade
Thanks for all the clarification!

I was wondering if you might be able to recommend some good textbooks for beginners who are looking to learn more about the science and culture of garnets?
There aren't many:

Garnets by John Rouse - I've been trying to get a copy for over two years now and even in the UK I'm really struggling to find a copy for under £150. I will bite the bullet eventually...

Naming Gem Garnets by Bill Hanneman - out of print, but managed to get a copy thanks to a very kind person. I found this book fascinating, but it is somewhat controversial to say the least (although I am rather a fan of his system...)

The GIA have a number of articles from the 1980's that you can order the pdf's of - it's about $80 for the set (I can look all the titles up for you if you are interested - they are mainly on the classification of garnet groups... a long running and interesting saga that probably causes more arguments than it solves
)

Sadly, that is about it - odd bits here and there in other gemmology books (Webster's Gems for example) but nothing else. What is available is technical and very much for someone with a scientific interest - there aren't many pictures for example in most.

Zeolite - totally agree with everything you write above, especially interested in the comments on the Malaia's, I've always considered them to be a kind of garnet equivalent of the padparadscha in colour terms... hence why I'm after a pale peach tone with minimal pink.

Garnets are my obsession and I am very envious of your collection!
 

MakingTheGrade

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Here's an interesting article about malayas (might be of interest consider the malaya fever going around) by Richard Wise
Malaya

I'd love to see a picture of what he describes as the "ideal" shades of honey-peach if anyone has any to share :) (honey peach just sounds so yummy)
There are some interesting images in the GIA library
Gia garnets

Although their faceted malaya looks too brown to be ideal?
 

zeolite

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Pandora,

I don't have the Rouse garnet book, and I have trying very hard to buy the out of print Hanneman Garnet book and can't find it anywhere. My last link below is where he used to sell it, but he had no more copies.

There is a lot of garnet info on line, but it may be a difficult read, if you don't thave a gemology degree. GIA Bookstore is good, but I couldn't find a link to their bookstore on their new web page.

Gems and Gemology is great for all gem subjects, but is pricey. I have nearly every issue from 1981 on; a very valuable collection.

http://www.gia.edu/research-resources/gems-gemology/index.html

Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
World Headquarters
The Robert Mouawad Campus
5345 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, California 92008
USA

Phone: 800-421-7250
Outside the U.S. and Canada: 760-603-4000

http://gemologyproject.com/wiki/index.php?title=Garnet



http://www.gemsociety.org/info/gems/Garnet.htm



http://www.oldandsold.com/articles19/gems-10.shtml



http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/347k/redesign/Gem_Notes/Garnet/garnet_triple_frame.htm



http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/garnet.htm



http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/gemstones/sp14-95/garnet.html



http://www.palagems.com/spessartite_buyers_guide.htm



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet



http://www.gemologyonline.com/Forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3029




 

T L

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Date: 3/21/2009 5:56:57 PM
Author: zeolite

I am a physicist, gemologist and gem collector. The largest grouping in my collection is garnet, and I am a garnet specialist. My garnet collection would put any museum in the world to shame, including the Smithsonian. I have extensive test measurements on my garnets, that I’m willing to share with GIA. I have a good research relationship with Dr. James Shigley of GIA.


Wow, I''d love to see pictures of your collecton one day. Thanks for the impressive knowledge you have about garnets.
 

Pandora II

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Date: 3/21/2009 8:11:48 PM
Author: zeolite



Pandora,

I don't have the Rouse garnet book, and I have trying very hard to buy the out of print Hanneman Garnet book and can't find it anywhere. My last link below is where he used to sell it, but he had no more copies.

There is a lot of garnet info on line, but it may be a difficult read, if you don't thave a gemology degree. GIA Bookstore is good, but I couldn't find a link to their bookstore on their new web page.

Gems and Gemology is great for all gem subjects, but is pricey. I have nearly every issue from 1981 on; a very valuable collection.
Well worth getting a copy of Hanneman's book if you can find one - plus you will want the Rosetta Stone he produced to go with it.

Agree on the Gems & Gemmology prices - but the Stockton & Manson texts are a must (especially if you are also reading Hanneman as he refers to them so much).

Have you had a chance to read the Hanneman book (even if you don't own it) - if so, I'm probably opening a big can of worms here, and definitely one for a thread on it's own, but I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the whole debacle and the GIA, Gem-A stances...

I will agree that most garnet info is of the sort where you need a few hours to concentrate - and a text book or two to hand. It's not exactly light bedtime reading...

So, when are you (or Rick) going to write the book that is definitely missing out there????
 

Pandora II

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Here''s a couple of pics of what I would be looking for in terms of colour for a Malaia. (Obviously, others may well have different parameters...
)

malaiapan1.jpg
 

MakingTheGrade

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I think it's amazing that people could just send Dr Hanneman checks and he'd mail them books, that's great :)
He still seems to be pretty active on the online forums, I'm guessing he's personally out of copies to give out too...sigh.

And I agree with Pandora, there's obviously a demand in the market for a good garnet book (
)
 

zeolite

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Pandora,
The two pictures you showed are what is called in the trade "peach malaias", that is, relatively pastel orange with a hint of pink. One major rough dealer in the trade said he had only seen about 5 in his career.

I think I have about 11 malaias, 9 of which are orange and two are peach. Here is one that is peach, and extremely light tone. It is so brilliant that it is difficult to show both the color and the brilliance at the same time. The camera has trouble recording that extreme dynamic range.

Other gem lovers may not like some of my malaias because they are pastel. They may prefer a deep orange. But that pale brilliance is the quality that make them so rare, and that brilliance needs to be brought out by the best cutting and polishing.

ps224_1.jpg
 

T L

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On the contrary, I prefer paler garnets, in particular malayas. Thanks for sharing the picture of that exquisite gem. You rarely see garnets in opposed bar cuts like that. What do you think of the Malaya deposit in Bekily, Madagascar that was written up in Gems & Gemology? How does it differ from the original deposit?
 

chrono

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Zeolite, I''d take your opposed bar Malaia anytime. It''s beautiful.
 

Gailey

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Date: 3/21/2009 9:53:57 PM
Author: zeolite
Pandora,
The two pictures you showed are what is called in the trade ''peach malaias'', that is, relatively pastel orange with a hint of pink. One major rough dealer in the trade said he had only seen about 5 in his career.

I think I have about 11 malaias, 9 of which are orange and two are peach. Here is one that is peach, and extremely light tone. It is so brilliant that it is difficult to show both the color and the brilliance at the same time. The camera has trouble recording that extreme dynamic range.

Other gem lovers may not like some of my malaias because they are pastel. They may prefer a deep orange. But that pale brilliance is the quality that make them so rare, and that brilliance needs to be brought out by the best cutting and polishing.
I s''pose there''s already a Mrs Zeolite, but just on the odd chance ...........
 

zeolite

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Date: 3/22/2009 12:12:12 AM
Author: Gailey

Date: 3/21/2009 9:53:57 PM
Author: zeolite
Pandora,
The two pictures you showed are what is called in the trade ''peach malaias'', that is, relatively pastel orange with a hint of pink. One major rough dealer in the trade said he had only seen about 5 in his career.

I think I have about 11 malaias, 9 of which are orange and two are peach. Here is one that is peach, and extremely light tone. It is so brilliant that it is difficult to show both the color and the brilliance at the same time. The camera has trouble recording that extreme dynamic range.

Other gem lovers may not like some of my malaias because they are pastel. They may prefer a deep orange. But that pale brilliance is the quality that make them so rare, and that brilliance needs to be brought out by the best cutting and polishing.
I s''pose there''s already a Mrs Zeolite, but just on the odd chance ...........
Funny
Yes, there is, but she has little interest in gems. She has a top Burmese ruby wedding ring that she won''t wear. She keeps it in the vault. She has more reasonably priced peridot, rhodolite, and rubellite gems, which she also keeps in the bank. I gave up giving her gems, though she did like the recent citrine heart I posted. I need a girlfriend who appreciates colored stones.
 

Gailey

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Date: 3/22/2009 12:57:49 AM
Author: zeolite

Date: 3/22/2009 12:12:12 AM
Author: Gailey


Date: 3/21/2009 9:53:57 PM
Author: zeolite
Pandora,
The two pictures you showed are what is called in the trade ''peach malaias'', that is, relatively pastel orange with a hint of pink. One major rough dealer in the trade said he had only seen about 5 in his career.

I think I have about 11 malaias, 9 of which are orange and two are peach. Here is one that is peach, and extremely light tone. It is so brilliant that it is difficult to show both the color and the brilliance at the same time. The camera has trouble recording that extreme dynamic range.

Other gem lovers may not like some of my malaias because they are pastel. They may prefer a deep orange. But that pale brilliance is the quality that make them so rare, and that brilliance needs to be brought out by the best cutting and polishing.
I s''pose there''s already a Mrs Zeolite, but just on the odd chance ...........
Funny
Yes, there is, but she has little interest in gems. She has a top Burmese ruby wedding ring that she won''t wear. She keeps it in the vault. She has more reasonably priced peridot, rhodolite, and rubellite gems, which she also keeps in the bank. I gave up giving her gems, though she did like the recent citrine heart I posted. I need a girlfriend who appreciates colored stones.
Mr Zeolite, I shall submit my resumé forthwith. I have excellent credentials!

BACK OFF girls, or at least have the good grace to get in line behind me!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Richard M.

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Date: 3/21/2009 8:11:48 PM
Author: zeolite
Pandora,


I don''t have the Rouse garnet book, and I have trying very hard to buy the out of print Hanneman Garnet book and can''t find it anywhere. My last link below is where he used to sell it, but he had no more copies.
If you write Hanneman I believe he may still have a condensed version of his book for sale. It was prepared for the Sinkankas Garnet Symposium last year and does contain the Garnet Rosetta Stone. I asked him recently if he had any plans to re-issue "Naming Gem Garnets" and he said "No." Too bad; it''s a very interesting approach based on Stockton & Manson''s research.

A friend found a copy of the Rouse book for me several years ago at the CalTech Bookstore. I''ve lost contact with him but when/if it''s re-established I''ll try to buy his copy and find a new home for it. That book ignited my obsession with garnets.

Lithographie recently issued a beautiful book, "Garnet, Great Balls of Fire" [www.lithographie.org] It has considerable background info and like all of their projects it has absolutely magnificent images. It''s an absolute "must" for any garnet lover. I expect it to be another collector''s item soon.

Do you have any ideas on pricing peach malaia like those posted by Pandora? I''d appreciate any input.

Richard M.
 

innerkitten

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Well mine is pink and peach and I''m pretty darn sure it is a malaya. I trust Barry. Like TLs it was also part of the find featured in the GIA article.
 

PrecisionGem

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Date: 3/21/2009 7:06:01 PM
Author: zeolite
Date: 3/21/2009 6:38:47 PM

Author: Harriet

Zeolite,

If the stone is a combination of pyrope, spessartine, and almandine, would that make it a Malaya?
No. While malaias probably will contain minor amounts of almandite (iron aluminum garnet), the main two end species are pyrope (magnesium aluminum garnet) and spessartite (manganese aluminum garnet). Malaia or malaya (spelled both ways) started as a trade name for a subgroup of pyrope spessartines from Tanzania. Malaias are mostly all orange of low color saturation and with brown. Pyrope spessartines include a wider range of color and saturation than the subgroup malaia. For example, pyrope spessartines can be a more saturated red-orange, like the vendor picture of this gem.


I would also comment that many of the beautiful gems on this board, with a dominant pink color, are not malaias, but are rhodolites. That is not to take away from their beauty, but that much pink is not a malaia.
How would you recommend one separate malaya from Rhodolite? The RI is overlaps so that is useless. I use the spectroscope, as the spectra is different. The very light peach pink stones I have worked with do not have a the strong Almandine spectra you would see in a Rhodolite.
 

icekid

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Just wanted to thank the contributors to this thread- I''ve learned a lot!
 
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