It’s the color that sets these stones apart. That illusive orangey pink color… highly prized and sought after in padaparadscha sapphires and imperial topazes but rarely available in the world of gemstones.
The only commercial deposits of Malaya occur in the Umba Valley in Kenya, in Northern Tanzania and in South Madagascar near Bekily. Large sizes are uncommon and most of the rough is small.
Malaia garnet can be difficult to separate from grossular hessonites because the two varieties can be identical in color and can also overlap in both density and refractive index. Specific identification of Malaya (pyrope-spessartine garnets) normally requires chemical analysis. Malaia garnets contain Mn, and Mg, with traces of Ca while grossular hessonites do not contain Mn, or Mg and contain more Ca. A spectroscope is the easiest way to separate the two varieties. The absorption features are due mostly to Mn2+ and Fe2+. Assignmnent of the bands at 503, 610 and 687nm to Fe2+ and at 483 nm to Mn2+ is consistent with data from other literature. Additional bands at 459 and 525nm can be assigned to both Fe+2 and Mn2+. Additionally, an intense band between 410-430 can signify of the presence of Mn2+ or Fe2+. Well equipped labs can also use an FTIR (Fourier Infared Spectrometer) and EDXRF (Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy) to determine the chemistry.