Garnet var. Almandine - Spessartine with Muscovite
Victor Extension Mine, Rincon, Rincon District, San Diego County, California, USA
5.3 X 5.0 X 4.2cm
Raisin-colored Garnets to 1.7 stud a silvery matrix of Muscovite schist. All four crystals, comprising three on top and one on the lower left in the photo on the left (which measures a large 2.0cm), are complex and undamaged; the rougher zones on the sides of two of the crystals show where the Garnets originally nucleated as interegrowhts with Muscovite prior to growing their moderately lustrous, more deeply colored rinds. From a small prospect in the Rincon District, these have not been analyzed for specific geochemistry, and this is the only one I've seen.
Bechtel Peak, Shoshone and Latah Counties, near Clarkia, Idaho, USA
2.6 X 2.5 X 2.3cm
Undamaged, nearly perfectly equant Garnet from the David Waisman Collection. The color is very deep, grape-jelly purple, with a purpish pink zone near the edge. Please don't have dreams of a gem, though! Mr. Waisman assured me these are heavily included and transparent at bestI If memory serves correctly, Mr. Waisman had grubstaked a field-collector who not only knew the location of this small exposure, but had also developed a proprietary cleaning method (even using a diswashing machine at stages, I think!) to completely free these from their enclosing Mica matrix.
Hall Chrome Pit, Thetford Mines, Les Appalaches RCM, Chaudière-Appalaches, Québec, Canada
1.6 X 1.5 X 1.1cm
Numerous nearly clear Garnets to 3mm cover earlier smaller cores of bright green chromian Garnets (possibly ranging in composition to Uvarovite). From the Richard Derrickson Collection and labeled as coming from [Thetford], I have seen numerous similar examples labeled as coming from the Jeffrey Quarry, and also a few labeled as "Thetford," a chrome mine in Quebec for which Mindat.com also lists Garnet as a constituent. I'm certain there is an authority who can resolve the issue somewhere; either way, a great color combination with myriad zones to contemplate, especially with a loupe.
Andradite Garnet var. Demantoid - Topazolite
Antetezambato Demantoid-Topazolite Mine, Antetezambato, Maherivaratra Commune, Ambanja District, Diana Region, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar
6.5 X 5.7 X 3.2cm
Glassy, sparkling Andradite cystals to 0.9cm on a smartly contrasting ivory-white matrix. The Garnets show a neat color zonation partly visible in the photos, comprising an outer zone of larger yellowish green Topazolite crystals that are mostly gemmy with tranlucent areas, with an inner zone of smaller, darker green, water-clear Demantoids. Of all the presentations from this occurrence, I find those on the ivory-white matrix most appealing! This "mine" that exploited a mangrove swamp is essentially defunct, as daily tides limited the extent of recovery.
Grossular Garnet with Quartz and Calcite
Kaiiado District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
4.2 X 2.8 X 2.4cm
World-class miniature specimen with a glassy, complete, undamaged, 1.7cm Grossular crystal capping a matrix of mostly damaged smaller Grossular crystals, slightly smokey quartz, and calcite that ranges from pearly white to translucent, cornflower blue. I understand these are from an occurrence of regionally metamophosed rock, which is consistent with it mineralogy and appearance, excepting the gemmy to translucent, clear (achromic!) to reddish orange areas. Interestingly, the main crystal is not zoned, in the common sense, instead showing an earlier, irregular clear zone (possibly on smokey quartz?), with a later euhedral overgrowth of gemmy orange Grossular that joined to complete a single crystal. All these combine to form a uniquely characterstic color combination!
Sierra de Cruces, Municipio de Sierra Mojada, Coahuila, Mexico
2.3 X 1.3 X 1.2cm
Competition-level thumbnail captained by a 1.3cm, bright reddish-pink Grossular crystal with hints of a deeper purple zone! The main pink Grossular is essentially undamaged, with only a few minor natural contacts with the pocket the specimen separated from. The luster is good to glassy, and crystal is approximately 95% complete, save for the 5% where it grows off the contrasting white matrix.
Almandine Garnet with Biotite
Garnet Ledge, Wrangell, Wrangell Isand, Wrangell-Petersburg Borough, Alaska, USA
7.6 X 6.5 X 3.8cm
Two lustrous, deep wine-red Almandine crysatls on a shard of Biotite-schist matrix. The larger Garnet measures 2.3, cm and the smaller 1.8cm. All the contacting visible is natural, as the Garnets were intergrown with the schist prior to cleaning, save a small area of conchoidal chipping on the back left edte of the main crystal, not visible from the front, and hard to see even in the photo on the upper right. Under strong lighting, small gemmy sections are visible in the Almandines. This is an older (1960s or 70s) piece I obtained in a collection around 5 years ago. The collection owner acquired it while mining in Alaska, from the original collection of an "old-timer" who worked the Wrangell occurence when he was younger. This is the best-prepared specimen I've seen from here, as the prep-artist left just enough matrix to hold the Garnets in place, meaning these are NOT reattached, as are so many of the Garnet specimens from here. This locality is long defunct, as only the weathered and partially weathered "outer rind" of the exposure was weakened enough to allow the physical techniques employed to mine here to break the rock through the matrix, and around the Garnets. In the remaining hard bedrock, the same physical techniques break the rock through the Garnets, producing broken crystals suitable only for sand-paper.
Navegadora Claim, Penha do Norte, Conselheiro Pena, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
4.0 X 4.0 X 2.2cm
Gemmy, wine-red Spessartine from the neo-classic find at Navegadora in the earliest 2000s. I selected this from one of the first lots brought to the USA before they really "hit" the market, and still regard this undamaged specimen as one of the finest I've seen. Its slightly compressed form allows better light-penetration that provides and internal "glow." These are not etched, as some have surmised. Instead, their growth (also exhibited in hoppered crystals) exceeded the entire crystal's ability to "keep-up," resulting in areas of enhanced vs. repressed growth, and providing a "stepped" appearance.
Andradite Garnet with Hedenbergite
Mega Horio, Serifos Island, Cyclade Islands, Kykládes Prefecture, Aegean Islands Department, Greece
8.0 X 4.7 X 4.5cm
An outstanding example from this venerable skarn locality, out of the Gilbert Gauthier Collection, with a prominant, isolated 1.5cm Andradite with several other Andradite crystals on a bed of elongate, dark green Hedenbergite crystals. The Garnets have moderate luster, range from cinnamon to orangish brown in color, and have exceptionally sharp crystal edges. There are two small contacts, visible near the left edge and left-center part of the specimen shown in the photo on the left, where smaller Garnets have detached; all the other Garnets are damage-free!
Spessartine Garnet with Muscovite
Nani Hill, Loliondo, Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region, Tanzania
5.1 X 3.1 X 2.4cm
A juicy-looking, orange-soda colored pair of Spessartines, the upper 1.9cm and lower 2.0cm across, partially conjoin to form a 2.8cm long group of lustrous crystals with a 6mm gemmy pumpkin-orange side Garnet. All rise from a nests of silvery Muscovite in a schist matrix. In the transitional area between the two main Spessartines, there are two natural fractures that are partially rehealed, indicating they formed during growth under dymanic metamorphic conditions. No damage!
12 Specimens added June 29, 2016
Almandine Garnet with Quartz and Muscovite
Deer Trail DIggings, Ruggles Mine, Grafton, Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
6.5 X 6.3 X 4.5cm
Dark brownish purple, nearly opaque Almandine crystals to 1.8cm scattered throughout a matrix of gray quartz, minor white feldspar, and lustrous silvery blades of Muscovite. I purchased this from the owners of the Ruggles Mine during a visit in 2005. The "Deer Trail Diggings" were small prospects outside of the main quarry, and this was the best of the Garnets they had found. There are obvious internal fractures and inclusions within the otherwise sharp garnets, and it is clear this is from near the surface as there is minor Iron-oxide staining from minor weathering of the specimen. I have never seen another specimen for sale from here.
Spessartine Garnet with Microcline and Muscovite
Wushan Spessartine Mine, Tongbei, Yunxiao County, Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China
4.9 X 4.2 X 3.4cm
A lustrous , tranlucent, 1.2cm honey-orange Spessartine perches on an aerial matrix of pinkish Microcline, with scattered clusters of smaller gemmy orange Spessartine crystals. The size of the main crystal and arrangement , with small accents of silvery mica, make this one of the better and most unique specimens I've seen from this locality.