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Mandarin garnet. What is that special trade name restricted to?Mandarin garnet. What is that special trade name restricted to?

Is the mandarin garnet trade name only specific to the type of spessartite with that special color mined in Namibia only? I’ve seen some pretty nice spessartites with excellent mandarin garnet color that look like the ones from Namibia and are labeled mandarin garnets but are instead from places like Nigeria, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Could those spessartite garnets have the right to be called mandarin garnets even tho they aren’t from Namibia?

The term “mandarin garnet” has been used both ways, as a term for spessartites with mandarin orange coloration from Namibia as well as any spessartite garnet with that coloration, regardless of source. For a long time, Namibia was the only source of spessartites with this coloration, but that changed with the discovery of comparable stones in Nigeria and Tanzania.

It’s a situation similar to the term “paraíba tourmaline,” but to my knowledge there has been no professional organization issuing a determination on usage.

It would be interesting to hear from gem vendors if they have a preferred use for this term.


thank you for your response and yea many sellers that do sell spessartite in that color often do use that name as its a good way to get attention to their products. but yea I do also imagine it is also similar to Paraiba as I feel a copper and manganese bearing tourmaline with that famous neon electric blue color would most likely be called Paraiba but lets say if it is from Mozambique, I imagine even though they are crazy expensive it wont sell as high of a price as the ones from Paraiba themselves do. And I guess the same can go for low iron/almandine spessartite too in the mandarin color from places like Nigeria vs the ones from Namibia lol


According to the International Colored Gemstone Association website, mandarin garnet was first discovered in Namibia, but that deposit is now played out. Garnet of a similar color was later found in Nigeria and both are entitled to the name mandarin garnet, as would any garnet of that particular color. This is pretty typical of gemstone naming, which mostly relies on the gemstone’s properties and color. There are a few exceptions, such as Kashmir sapphire, which is always sapphire that comes from Kashmir.

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Btw is there like a name for the type of trade names that are dependent on origins like kasmir sapphire and the type of trades names that aren’t dependent on origins like mandarin garnet it appears to be.