Types of Garnet Gems


Types of Garnet Gems

Garnets belong to the silicate mineral family and have been used as abrasives and gems since the Bronze Age. They make up two solid solution series: uvarovite-grossular-andradite and pyrope-almandine-spessarite. They come in a variety of colors but the rarest kind is the blue garnet discovered in Bekily, Madagascar. The various types of Garnet are:

Red Pyrope

The red pyrope garnet is often completely free of any flaws or inclusions. It is one of the few gemstones that are free of any irradiation and clarity enhancement treatments. They are primarily a dodecahedral crystal and crystallize in cubic or isometric crystal system.


Rhodolite is also known as pyrope-almandine garnet and is a combination of pyrope garnet and almandite. It contains traces of magnesium and aluminum as allochromatic (where minerals gain their color from traces of impurities) coloring agents. It comes in either purple-pink or raspberry red. This type of garnet is primarily found in Mozambique, USA, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.


Spessarite garnet is also called “spessartine” which is a place in Bavaria where the gem was first discovered in 1832. It is nesosilicate manganese aluminum in the mineral family of silicates. It mainly occurs in ultramafic igneous rock, metamorphic phyllites, metamorphic rocks and granite pegmatite. The main sources of the spessarite garnet are USA (mostly the violet red variety), and Sri Lanka and Brazil (mostly the orange spessartine).


The Mandarin garnet is also known as “kunene spessartines” and was first identified only in 1991. It is an extremely rare type of garnet. It is mainly composed of aluminum and manganese and has a deep saturated ideochromatic (a gem’s inherent color due to its chemical components) hue of yellow-orange or pure orange. The primary source of this gem has been along the River Kunene between Angola and Namibia.

Grossular Garnet or Tsavorite:

It is mainly found in Madagascar, Siberia, Kenya, Tanzania and USA. Its name is derived from “gooseberry” because of its resemblance to the pale-green fruit. It is also known by the term “grossularite”. The gem is extremely rare and was first discovered in Tanzania. The grossular garnet is a calcium-aluminum nesosilicate which forms cubic crystals in the isometric crystal system. It comes in many colors such as brown, orange, yellow, emerald green and pink..

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