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Discovery of Pyrope Spessartite garnets ( Madagascar )


© 2004 gggems.com All rights reserved.

A day of July 1996 whereas I stopped in a small village in Madagascar, one presented samples of a strange stone to me. At first sight its color could reminds certain zircon, but I quickly identified them as garnet. After some palaver, one led me to the place of the discovery. I must acknowledge that I already knew the inhabitants with whom I tied friendship the previous year. On the spot, a notch of about one meter fifty in a white color rock had created a not very impressive hole. But, according to its authors, it was particularly painful to produce it with iron bars only . I readily believed them after to be approached to the rock. Some particles of this stone to the orange - pink-brown reflections remained taken in the bedrock. I encouraged my friends to be still sought.

The first samples extracted from a not disaggregated leptynite did not exceed 3.15 cts. after cutting.
The observation under day light and incandescent light showed a clear difference in color.
Its change, from the champagne color under daylight, to an intense red for some, or to pink-orange
for others is due to chromium and vanadium traces.
This characteristic confers an attractive aspect on these gems.

Other samples were orange-yellow and did not change a color under the various sources of lighting.

Unfortunately, the very hard and compact rock in this place, did not allow to extract many stones from it, and the occurrence was abandoned a few weeks after its discovery.

Opposite, first samples cut in 1996 showing a change of color.

Above, an orange malaya found also in the
primary occurrence. (It does not change a color)

This is two years later, exactly in September 1998, that returning in the small village, the samples more or less similar to those which I make cut in 1996 were found. They were turbid because of the fine rain of small bubbles they contained. Their color was definitely more orange than malaya garnets from the first occurrence. Indeed, they did not come from the same place. This is a little more than one kilometer of distance that the elluvionnar deposit was discovered. I was immediately conscious to be the witness of a rare moment in the career of an impassioned person in precious stones.
At this time started the orange garnet's fever.
The stone did not show almost any more change, its champagne-orange color at the day
was simply reinforced in a vivid orange or for other elements in an orange-red under electric light.
This type of garnet is a pyrope-spessartite also containing vanadium and chromium traces.
On the totality of Malaya extracted, a small part was pure, but much showed typical inclusions of
this stone.

Initially networks of rutile needles and strain patterns were often present, and inclusions of graphite
accompanied them.
Negative crystals and, quartz, apatite, monazite and zircon had been also invited during the growth of the precious malaya garnet.

Here the first pyrope-spessartite cut in 1998.

Realized in an arid landscape composed of bushes and cactus, this discovery remains exceptional by
the quality of its product and also by the fact that it was the second deposit in the world to deliver
this type of Malaya garnet.

Here, one of the only intact garnets
found in the occurrence.
Its unusual stacking shape must be noticed.

Refractive Index: 1.73 - 1.81
Chemical Composition: [Mg3 + Mn3]AL2(SIO4)
Hardness: 7 - 7.5
3.65 - 4.20
Crystal Group: Cubic

Above, the only phlogopite mica found in the neighborhood of the deposit at that time, it is still in
its gangue.
Of transparent quality, it shows a similar color to that of malaya garnets.

¶ Garnet data ¶ Madagascar Gem Safari ¶ Malaya garnet Catalog ¶

All the pictures on this site have been shot by gggems.com Alain Darbellay

© 1987 - 2004 gggems.com All rights reserved.

About the Author



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