|The Zillertal in Tyrol
(Austria) is famous for its Almandine
garnets, which have long been mined both as cutting rough as well as
The crystals usually do not grow to the size of those found in the Ötztal, but can reach several centimeters. The one on the left is a typical example from the Hornkees. I have been collecting there myself and believe me: the real challenge is to clean the specimen up and remove the schist around the garnets. Crystals are up to ~ 2 cm here. The right one was found also in the Zillertal, on the Berliner Spitze. It has a particularly shiny red and is 35 mm in diameter.
|Almandine Garnet, |
We acquired this piece in the early 90ies as Almandine (~2 cm) from Pakistan. However, we analyzed of few (other) specimen from Pakistan and very often found that these garnets are mixtures of Almandine and Spessartine (which can also mix with Pyrope - PyrAlSpit-Series). The individual components are often presen in almost the same ratio making it hard to tell whether this is an Almandine or a Spessartine.
Spessartine on Galena
from Broken Hill, Australia.
These spessartines, up to 10 mm in diameter, are very shine, display a deep wine-red and make a good contrast on the galena. Obtained from www.irocks.com
|A quite recent addition
to our collection: Andradite garnet
on Hematite from the Kalahari Manganese Fields in South Africa. Just
Obtained from Dr. Rob Lavinsky: www.irocks.com - an excellent source of choice minerals!
Shigar in Pakistan.
This is an outstanding Hessonite crystal (~ 3 cm), a variety of Grossular.
on large Albit Crastal,|
with Quartz and Schorl
from Shengus, Shigar in Pakistan.
This is a floater Feldspar, which has a very shiny front face with separation of different feldspar vaireties. It is covered with small Spessartines and there is also a small Schorl (~ 3 cm) in the front.
with elongated Almandine Crystals
from the Zillertal, Tyrol, Austria.
Almandines in the Zillertal formed as a metamorphic mineral: when the host rock was pulled down into the earth it heated up and was put under pressure. The rock did not melt, but some of its constituents became instable and set free certain chemical elementd. These diffused through the solid rock and formed the Almandine garnets. Because it is known the Almandine requires a certain temperature for its growth it can be used as kind of a geo-thermometer. The Zillertal is very famous for its garnets: they have been mined here for several hunderet years, in part for jewellery and in part as grinding materaial, due its hardness
with Quartz, Feldspar, and Schörl (on the
If you wonder why we just say a garnet withouth further specification - here is the answer. Garnets from Pakistan can be either Almandine, Spessartine (typically from Haramosh or K2 region) or Grossular (from Parachinar). Unfortunately, Almandine and Spessartine can form chemical mixutres with each other, but not with Grossular. This garnet here is either Almandine or Spessartine, depending which of the two minerals dominates in the mixture. In principle each garnet has to be analyzed for its chemical composition to exactly tell which variety one looks at. As this one has not been analyzed in detail, we simply call it - garnet.
|Raspberry Garnet from
Lake Jako, Coahuila, Sierra de
Raspberry garnet is called so because of its color. It belongs, however, chemically to the Grossular Garnets. The red color comes from an enrichment in manganese. Most Raspberry garnets exhibit a dark core with a lower content in Mn. Recently I have also found the name "Rosolite" on Mindat for this mineral.
from Sierra de las Cruces,
Another Grossular var. Raspberry
Garnet: most of these garnets have a dark inner core. In the outer regions an increased contentn of Manganese can be found which turns the color into this bright red.
(now in a private collection)
var. Demantoide, |
from Kherman, border region Iran to Afghanistan.
Demantoide receives its color from a small amount of chromium present in an Andradite. The name Demantoide comes from the fact that the index of refraction - the property that causes the sparkling fire in diamonds - is even higher than in diamonds. However, due to the darker color the sparkling can not be seen as good as in the clear diamond.
from the Val Malenco, Italy
Val Melenco is the classic location for Demantoids from the Alps. These Demantoids are particularly nice when associated with white Asbestos.
|Rhodolite from Nepal. |
Rhodolith is a mixture of Almandine and Pyrope.
from Orozimbo (Navegador), Brazil.
|Yellow Grossular |
from Arizona, USA.
This one is not transparent, but it is an interesting color for an garnet. Recently, yellow Grossular was found in Mali.
with Iron Roses (Hematit) |
from Serifos, Greece.
Andradits from Serifos are classics. They fearture a pronounced color zonation with lighter faces and darker rims.
|Spessartine is very
beautiful when accompanied by the constrasting
Here are two examples, one from Pakistan (left) and one from Ramona, CA (right).
from the Little
Three Mine, Ramona, CA. This is a classic location where essentially
pure Spessartine was found - |
alone (right) and in very aesthetic combos with Schörl and white Clevelandit (left, Spessartines ~ 1cm).
Here is an very esthetic swimmer of Quartz and Feldspar covered with Spessartine from Afghanistan
perched on Smokey Quartz
Garnet var. Demantoide
from the Kherman Mine, Afghani-Irani border.
Demantoide is a chromium rich Andradit garnet. This is a 1.7 cm (!!), translucent specimen, which is now in a private collection.
from Lake Jako, Mexiko.
This is another Mexican Garnet, which is has a very nice light-pink color and
Spessartine in |
Clevelanit with Borocookeit
from the Little Three Mine,
Ramona, San Diego County, California
This piece has a phenomenal bright and clear Spessartine.
It is surrounded by white to light-bluish Clevelandit,
which is partially covered with grayish Borocookeit.
Uvarovite is a chromium rich garnet and is often found in assosiation with chromium ores. Most collecotrs know the Uvarivites from the Urals, where Uvarovite occurs as green lawns on chromit ore. Rarely do crystals reach a few mm size. This piece is from Outukumpu, Finnland, where Uvarovites reached a few cm!
Size: ~1.5 cm.
from Marienfluss, Namibia
Spessartines from the Marienfluss are very similar in colour to those from California and China.
Size: ~1 cm.