Micro-World Gems & Gemology, Spring 2022, Vol. 58, No. 1

Spessartine Garnet in Aquamarine

Red garnet crystal prominently featured in the faceted aquamarine.
Figure 1. A 7.98 ct blue aquamarine faceted by the author to display the garnet crystal within. Photo by Jessa Rizzo.

The author recently had the opportunity to examine and facet a sample of aquamarine rough. The aquamarine, reportedly from Pakistan, was acquired from gemstone dealer Ali Shad of Shad Fine Minerals (Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan). The rough was specifically selected for the large red garnet inclusion within. In preparation for faceting, the stone was oriented with the garnet inclusion as the primary focus. After careful planning and execution, a 7.98 ct modified emerald cut was achieved, highlighting the garnet crystal under the table facet (figure 1). Oblique fiber-optic illumination was used to observe the internal features of the aquamarine, revealing a well-formed red spessartine garnet crystal with iridescent colors along the garnet and aquamarine interface (figure 2). This is one of the most beautiful inclusions the author has seen in an aquamarine, and it is noteworthy as the gem was faceted to display the inclusion rather than to conceal or remove it.

Vibrant interference colors seen on the crystal faces of the garnet.
Figure 2. The red spessartine garnet showed vibrant interference colors along the interface with the aquamarine host. Photomicrograph by Nathan Renfro; field of view 5.63 mm.

Jessa Rizzo is a staff gemologist at GIA in Carlsbad, California.