"Mandarin" garnets?

Hello Everyone,

Need some Is the term “mandarin” just a general
color description for any orange garnet, or is it specifically
applied to a particular variety?

Appreciate your help,

| Carol J. Bova @Carol_J_Bova |
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According to Walter Schmumann’s book “Gemstones of the World” on
page 104 Garnet Group Spessartine “The best specimens come from
Namibia (“Mandarin Spessartine”).” The images of the gems shown
are a distinct orange color that has a red tinge.

Ed Ward
Ward’s Stone Creations

Hi Carol,

Mandarine Garnet belongs to the Pyralspite isomorphic serie of
the Garnet group and to the Spessartite variety of Garnet.

  • chimical composition : Mn3 Al2 (SiO4)3 , manganese aluminum silicate.
  • system : cubic.
  • refractive index : 1.79 to 1.81.
  • dispersion : 0.027.
  • specific gravity : 3.90 to 4.20.
  • hardness : 7 1/4.
  • fracture : subconchoidal.
  • lustre : vitreous to sub-adamantine.
  • colour : transparent orange to orange-brown, yellow, red. the colour
    is due to manganese.
  • spectra : lines in blue and violet due to manganese. Bands at 412nm,
    424nm, 432nm, 462nm, 485nm, 495nm. The first 3 may form a cut off at
  • inclusions : small black spots off manganese, shredded-looking
    Localities : USA ( California, Virginia), Brazil, Germany, Sweden. Since
    1993 Mandarine Garnets have been coming out of Namibia in South West
    The price range is above Pyrope and Almandine Garnet and around the
    same as Rhodolite Garnet.

Best Regards,


Hi Francoise!

This may be running off on a tangent, but what is a
subconchoidal fracture? I am familiar with conchoidal, like in
obsidian or glass. Can you tell me how subconchoidal differs?


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)

The term “Mandarin” was coined a few years ago after the
brilliant orange garnet find in Namibia. None of the localities
that I know of have the same bright orange hues. The part-Dutch
owners then wanted to pay homage to the Dutch throne (the House
of Orange) and came up with “Mandarin.” The color is really akin
to that of a ripe California tangerine with very little brownish
color apparent. The Namibian material, by rights, and by color,
best qualifies as the true “mandarin” garnet. Greetings all!

  what is a subconchoidal fracture?  I am familiar with
conchoidal, like in obsidian or glass.  Can you tell me how
subconchoidal differs?

Hi Dave,

Conchoidal is the most common type of fracture. It is a type of
fracture that gives smooth curved surfaces resembling a shell.
Broken glass and quartz are good examples of conchoidal
fractures. Subconchoidal is also a common type of fracture.
Similar to conchoidal, still smooth but not just as curved.
Andalusite will show this type of fracture.

Best Regards,