Mali Garnet Gemstone Information
About Mali Garnet - History and Introduction
In the large and varied family of garnet gemstones, there are six main garnet species, specified by their chemical composition: Pyrope, almandine, spessartite, grossularite, uvarovite and andradite. Mali garnet is one of the rare and unique mixed 'hybrid' varieties of garnet. It was only recently discovered in 1994 in the West African country of Mali, which is how it earned its name. By definition, Mali garnet is a mixture of grossular garnet; a calcium aluminum silicate and andradite garnet; a calcium iron silicate. Many refer to Mali as a grossular-andradite mixture, but the average concentration of andradite is only around 5%, which classifies Mali garnet as primarily a type of grossularite.
The discovery of Mali garnet drew a lot of interest in the gem trade because both grossular and andradite garnet species are among the rarest and most valuable garnet varieties. As a variety of grossularite, the refractive index of Mali garnet is closer to that of grossular (1.77 in most specimens), but it also exhibits a very impressive level of dispersion, reminiscent of fine demantoid (green andradite) due to its andradite properties. Grossular can be found in a variety of colors including yellow, white, colorless, green and red, but Mali garnet is typically limited to shades of yellowish to brownish-green.
Identifying Mali Garnet Back to Top
Like all garnet, Mali has a very distinct cubic crystal structure; its rhombic dodecahedral faces are a hallmark of all garnet gemstones. Other distinguishing aspects include lack of cleavage, fluorescence and pleochroism (since garnet is singly refractive). Mali garnet composition is a mixture of grossular garnet and roughly 5 percent andradite. Its color and refractive index is closer to that of grossular, but it exhibits a demantoid-like fire or dispersion which is a result of the presence of andradite. Mali's color is owed to traces of chromium, the same element responsible for the green in emerald and the red in ruby. Like all other garnet species, Mali garnet has excellent hardness and durability, rating at 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Mali Garnet; Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Most rough Mali garnet is mined from alluvial deposits from the West African country of Mali. Mali remains the only known source for Mali garnet to this day.
Buying Mali Garnet and Determining Mali Garnet Gemstone Value Back to Top
Mali Garnet Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Mali Garnet: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
The garnet group of gemstones is one of the most important in the gemstone industry. The garnet family also includes pyrope, almandine, spessartite, grossularite, uvarovite and andradite. Although there are only six distinct types of garnet, garnet commonly forms with more than just one mineral, which results in numerous hybrid gemstone varieties. In fact, very rarely is any garnet ever in pure form; for example, stones sold as 'pyrope' or 'almandine' almost always contain some traces of another garnet species. In terms of Mali garnet's closest related gems, tsavorite and hessonite are popular varieties of grossular, and demantoid is a rare and valuable andradite. There are a number of other gemstones and minerals which can be easily mistaken for garnet stones, especially due to the wide variety of colors and localities in which garnet can occur. Some of the most commonly confused materials include spinel, chrysoberyl, alexandrite, tourmaline and sapphire.
Most Popular Related Gemstones:
Tsavorite garnet, star garnet, pyrope garnet, almandine garnet, rhodolite garnet, grossular (grossularite) garnet, hessonite garnet, spessartite garnet and demantoid garnet are among the most popular garnet varieties.
Lesser-Known Related Gemstones:
Hydrogrossular garnet, andradite garnet, melanite garnet, leuco garnet, topazolite garnet, uvarovite garnet, malaya garnet and color change garnet are among the lesser-known garnet varieties.
Mali Garnet Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Garnet is January's birthstone and is also associated with the zodiacal symbol of Aquarius. Garnet is said to be a stone that encourage romance, love and passion. It is said to enhance sensuality, intimacy and sexuality. Garnet can strengthen one's level of creativity. It is also believed to boost positive energy, and self-confidence. Furthermore, garnet is thought to encourage business success. It is also said that in the biblical story, Noah used a glowing garnet lantern to help steer his ark through the night.
Garnets were once used to treat and heal those with infectious disease, blood poisoning, heart issues and lung problems. It is considered to be a protective stone, protecting wearers from evil as well as nightmares and bad dreams. It is an excellent stone used in spiritual healing. Although garnet is primarily associated with the root chakra, depending upon its color, it can also be useful for opening up other chakras as well.
Mali Garnet Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Mali garnet can be used in all types of jewelry. Besides its attractive colors, Mali garnet has many other qualities which make it a truly unique and valuable jewelry gemstone. Like all garnet, it has very good hardness making it resistant to wear and tear and suitable for any type of jewelry. Additionally Mali garnet has a remarkably high refraction of light, resulting in exceptional brilliance and fire. Even in poor lighting conditions, Mali garnet can exhibit a vivid sparkle. Like most garnet, Mali garnet is perfect for daily-wear rings, pins, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and pendants. However, since Mali garnet is one of the rarer varieties of garnet, it is not normally found in local jewelry stores. Mali garnet is commonly worn in planetary or astrological jewelry. Anniversary and Eternity Bands often use Mali garnet, due to the fact that garnet is the official 2nd year wedding anniversary gemstone. Mali garnet may also be found in many traditional birthstone jewelry designs.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.
Mali Garnet Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Mali garnet can be cleaned using warm water and a mild soap or detergent. You can wipe down your stones with a plain soft cloth or brush. After wiping, be sure to rinse your gems and jewelry well to ensure all soapy residue is removed. Avoid extreme heat and temperature fluctuations as this may cause fracturing. Ultrasonic cleaners are not recommended and steamers should be avoided as well as the use of any harsh household chemicals and cleaners, including bleach or hydrofluoric acid, since chemicals can cause corrosion.
Although Mali garnet is quite durable, it is still best to always remove any jewelry before engaging in vigorous physical activities, such as exercise or sports. When removing jewelry, do not pull from the stone as this can weaken prongs, eventually leading to a lost stone. When storing Mali garnet gems and jewelry, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: February-17-2014
- Last Updated: May-30-2014
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