Spessartine gemstone properties
There, where river Main skirts the Alpine crest named Spessart peculiar garnets have been found since ancient times. Colored in warm tints they seemed to glow from inside like a ripe tangerine. The stone was called the same – the tangerine garnet – until a French mineralogist François Beudant restored justice. From 1832 this mineral of rare beauty bears the name of spessarite.
It is said that local government authorities considered placing spessartine on the coat of arm of the Main-Spessart region, but gave it a second thought. The thing is, that regardless of its rare beauty spessartine is seldom used for jewelry. The problem is in the gemstone physical properties.
Chemical composition forms the physical properties
Similar to all garnets spessartine is a complex silicate. The mineral’s composition includes manganese and aluminum as well as silicone oxide. The chemical formula is Mn3Al2(SiO4)3, though in spessartine’s crystal lattice manganese and aluminum ions are frequently replaced by tramp iron. That is why most of the gems found on the banks of Main are dim to complete opacity and are not fit for cutting.
But the gem’s properties are changed not only by iron. Oxidized magnesium, yttrium and vanadium can compose up to 3% of the gem mass. Often impurities in spessartine include calcium and titanium. Sheer spessartine in the discovered samples is never higher than 94%...
The mineral’s chemical composition defines not only its color and clearness but also its utility properties. Tendency to cracking, vulnerability to heating, small linear size of the crystals make spessartine especially inconvenient to process.
Fortunately the spessartine deposits dispersed all over the world provide quality raw material occasionally.
In each deposit – its own spessartine
Apart from the Alps spessartine is mines in Norway, in Urals and in Trans-Baikal region. Bright gems of orange-red colors are found in Africa. In spessartine from RSA there is the highest concentration of yttrium. Massive crystals with scarlet gleam on their facets are supplied by Australian miners.
The gems of India and south-east Asia are famous for their cherry tints. Yellow-orange spessartines from North and Central America have the biggest size. Brazilian spessartines can have alexandrite effect. Deep colors and bright shine are characteristic to gems from Madagaskar.
In most cases spessartines form crystalline druzies. Spessartine brushes are in high demand among the collectors, though worthy spessartines reach jewelry market every now and then.
Actually there are not so few big splices among beautifully colored spessartines, though a lot of found samples are thermally damaged to a certain extent. It is impossible to cut the gem idled with cracks; to refine it (like an emerald) – is very expensive.
Prices for spessartine
Though this gem is not mined extensively it is not difficult to buy spessartine. One-carat inserts are valued among a few dozen dollars for a gem globally. 3-5-carat cut spessartines are valued at about 150 dollars per carat. Gems of exclusive quality and higher mass (10-20 carats) are dozens and hundreds times more valuable than gold…
Spessartines for mineral collections are fairly available. One gram of this gem can cost from five to a hundred dollars, depending on its size and quality.
In 2006 at auction Christie’s in Geneva a platinum ring with a 50-carat spessartine of a tangerine tint was sold. This is a record for spessartine jewelry: larger gems are usually found in museum collections.
Both jewelry and interior ornaments with spessartines are successfully applied in lithotherapy. Clenching a gem can help stop the bleeding. Inflammation processes go easier, end quicker and exhaust the organism less when there are spessartines in the ill person’s room.
As a talisman awakening the defense powers of spiritual body spessartine is fit for Sagittarius. Magical features of spessartines are n the gem’s capability to maintain direct contact with the spirits of recently deceased.