Feature Gems & Gemology, Winter 2001, Volume 37, No. 4

Pink to Pinkish Orange Malaya Garnets from Bekily, Madagascar

Malaya garnets from Bekily, Madagascar, are predominantly pink to pinkish orange, with some stones orange to red. Discovered only in the late 1990s, the majority are intermediate members of the pyrope-spessartine series with variable contents of almandine and subordinate grossular. The refractive index, specific gravity, and color of these garnets are related to their iron and manganese contents. Inclusions identified by Raman analysis are rutile needles and platelets, graphite, quartz, apatite, zircon, and sillimanite. Negative crystals were also seen. Important differences in predominant color and chemistry were noted when the Bekily garnets, only the second commercial source of malaya garnet, were compared to malaya garnets from East Africa, which have been available since the late 1970s.