Orange Gems: Malaya Garnet
A Brief History
The dreamy pink-orange malaya (malaia) garnet was first discovered in the 1960s.
This exquisite stone was found in the Umba River Valley bordering Tanzania and Kenya which remains the primary source for Malaya garnet today. In the 1990s, a second commercial source was discovered in Bekily, Madagascar.
Did You Know this about the Malaya Garnet?
- Malaya garnet is one of the rare and more interesting 'hybrid' varieties of garnet. In fact, garnet comes in 6 main mineral groups/species: almandine, andradite, grossular, pyrope, spessartine and uvarovite. And often a garnet forms a chemical mixture between 2 or 3 of these groups as is the case with Malaya garnet. Btw, this mixed-up feature makes garnet one of the hardest stones to identify for gemologists...
- Malaya garnet is primarily a mix of the species pyrope and spessartine garnet but some stones can even contain parts of the other 4 garnet groups.
- The term "malaya" is derived from a Swahili word meaning 'outcast'. Miners gave it this name because when it was first discovered local dealers wouldn't buy it, simply because it didn't fall into one of the standard garnet categories they knew up till then; its pink-orange colour being so different from the common red garnet. And so, it was cast aside! If only they'd known...
- Since its discovery, the production and mining of Malaya garnet has been very irregular and because of its rarity, it is a highly prized gemstone by gem collectors.
- Garnets are one of the few gemstones that typically do not receive treatments in any way (in other words, they are not 'enhanced'), and so their colours are fully natural. And so far, this variety also hasn't been recreated as a synthetic (man-made) gemstone either. We like, we like!
Why You'll Love Malaya Garnet:
- Malaya garnet has remarkable brilliance and 'fire'. This means it can show desirable 'rainbow-coloured' flashes when the stone moves in a light source. "Fire" is quite normal to find in diamonds but very rare in coloured stones. Malaya garnet is one of the few that displays that scintillating rainbow sparkle...
- Its great hardness (i.e. its resistance to scratches) and brilliance make it one of the world's finest quality gemstones!
- Its extraordinary colour is reminiscent of burning exotic sunsets and can be used as a chic substitute for the much desired - and much more expensive - pink-orange padparadscha sapphire.
- Fine quality malaya garnets in a good pink-orange colour are so rare and special that you'll be one of the few on the planet wearing one...
- Malaya garnet is known to exhibit scintillating flashes of red, incomparable to any other type of garnet. As red is considered as the rarest and most expensive colour in the coloured stone-world, whenever a stone displays red flashes, its value will increase (and it will be regarded more beautiful).