Spessartite, also known as Spessartine or Mandarin garnet, was introduced to the world about 200 years ago when it was discovered in in Spessart, Bavaria.
Spessartite is a rare form of garnet with an unusually high index of refraction. It has always been a rarity and highly desired by gemstone collectors and jewelry designers.
Spessartite garnet is ideochromatic, meaning it is colored by a fundamental element in its composition. That element is manganese, which produces an orange color. Without the manganese, the stone would no longer be spessartite. As a result, spessartite has only one basic color - orange. That said, the color may be modified slightly by mixing with iron in the form of almandine which produces a more reddish coloration.
Gem spessartite has been found at a number of localities around the world, including Brazil, Burma, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the USA. Of these sources, the most important are the deposits Nigeria and Namibia.
Recent discoveries in Namibia, East Africa, and Nigeria led to an increase in production over the last few years. Although the output was significant, the percentage of fine material in larger sizes was never large. Current spessartite prices are have shown dramatic increases especially for the bright orange Fanta or Mandarin colors.
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