Spessarite belongs to the garnet group of gems and was first discovered in the mid 1800s. The stone owes its name to the Spessart mountain range in southern Germany’s Bavaria state.
A fiery orange Spessarite was unearthed in the north-western mountainous region of Namibia in 1991. This came to be known as ‘Mandarin’ due to the absence of the brown coloration. Other sources for Spessarite include Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Pakistan.
Spessarite is an idiochromatic gem and derives its color due to its elements and composition. It gets its orange color due to the presence of manganese. As it contains the element of iron, it also acquires a reddish or brownish tinge. The stone is often seen in combinations of brownish yellowish-orange, brownish orange, brown and orangey-red. Spessarite in a pure, bright orange is a rare Mandarin variety.
Spessarite is often blended with pyrope to produce shades of pink, red and yellowish orange. It is popularly known as Malaya or Malaia garnet.
Most Spessarite stones have eye visible inclusions. Clean stones of larger sizes command a significant price premium.
Garnets are cut in all standard shapes and sizes, however they are also popular for designer cuts and carvings.
Garnets can be found in all sizes and weights. Garments are far more common in larger sizes so there’s no dramatic rise in value as size increases.