Spessartite – the extraordinary gem you’ve never heard of

An orange-coloured sky

Spessartite. It’s a bright, bold cousin of the garnet, and you’ve probably never heard of it. Thanks to its citrusy orange hue, spessartite is sometimes called a mandarin garnet, but other variations have tinges of red and brown. Deposits of spessartite were first unearthed in a wooded Bavarian mountain range in the 1880s, and the gem’s name was subsequently derived from spessart (Bavarian for forest). The semi-precious stone was later found in Namibia, Mozambique, China, and parts of Southern California. The following are some of our favorite examples.

American designer Katey Brunini handcrafted this 18-karat yellow gold necklace (US$70,640/RM312,900) with more than 860 carats of spessartite garnet beads.

Tiffany & Co.’s interpretation of spessartite is imbued with polished playfulness. The 18-karat yellow gold statement ring from the Masterpieces Collection is covered with a honeycomb of yellow sapphires and bright orange spessartites.

Based in New York, the mother-and-daughter duo Jane Taylor and Cleo Zancope created this sleek one-of-kind ring (US$4,390/RM19,445) from Namibian Mandarin spessartite garnets.

Florida-based Pamela Huizenga is an expert in utilizing unexpected stones and textures, as shown in this bracelet, which shines with beads of faceted smoky quartz, smooth spessartite, and deep red hessonite garnet.

Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series