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January Birthstone

While it was once just a collector's gem, spessartine, an orange variety of garnet, made its move into the mainstream during the 1990s when new deposits were discovered in Africa. Like most garnets, spessartine is typically untreated, so the beautiful color and clarity that you see in them is just as nature created it. Spessartine garnet is named after its first discovery in Spessart, Bavaria, in the mid 1800's.

Spessartite Polished
Spessartite Classification
Common Name Spessartite
Species Garnet
Spessartite Optical Properties
Transparency Transparent
Dispersion Strength: Moderate Fire Value: 0.027
Refractive Index Over The Limit 1.810-1.810
Optic Character NA
Optic Sign NA
Polariscope Reaction Singly Refractive (SR) With ADR
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
CCF Reaction None
Pleochroism None
Spessartite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 7-7.5
Streak None
Specific Gravity 4.120-4.200 Range:0.05/-0.03 Typical:4.150
Toughness Varies
Inclusions Spessartine garnet is a type II clarity stone. Stones might have 2-phase, liquid inclusions that are feathery in appearance and rutile needle inclusions.
Luster SubAdamantine, Vitreous
Stability Good
Fracture Conchoidal
Cleavage None
Spessartite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name manganese aluminium silicate
Chemical Formula Mn3Al2(SiO4)3
Crystal System Cubic
Chemistry Classification Silicate

Spessartite Colors

  • Yellow Spessartite Yellow
  • Red Spessartite Red
  • Orange Spessartite Orange

Alternate Names

Spessartite Garnet, Mandarin Garnet If Bright Orange

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Myanmar; United States of America (the); Sri Lanka; Madagascar; Zambia; Thailand; India; Mozambique; Unknown; Malawi; China; Namibia; Brazil; Nigeria; Tajikistan


If you enjoy warm colors, this is the garnet for you. Ranging in color from mandarin orange to a southwest-sunset, reddish-orange shade, this stone will warm any ensemble. It's a great stone for winter wear, but don't leave it in your jewelry box in summer. A pretty dress, straw hat, and sandals - with one of the spessartine beauties - say summer in capital letters!


Normal care

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Optical Phenomena

Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet

Cat’s-eye spessartine garnet has a singular light band on the surface of a gemstone created when light encounters hollow tubes, or parallel fibrous, or needle-like, inclusions within its crystal structure. Light that strikes the inclusions within the gem reflects off the inclusions, creating a narrow band of light. One known location is Namibia, but stones have been reported from Brazil and Sri Lanka.

Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet Spessartite
Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet Classification
Common Name Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet
Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet Optical Properties
CCF Reaction None
Cat’s-Eye Spessartine Garnet Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 4.12
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Hollow tubes, needle-like inclusions
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.