Niassa Garnet is the name we use for extremely high quality Rhodolite Garnet from world-class gem soils of Mozambique. To qualify for this exclusive name, they must show a deep and consistent dark red-to-pink with strong flecks of claret, maroon and burgundy. Only the very best make the grade.
Garnet as a gemstone has a much more complicated family than most. The family tree is split into the categories of group, species and variety. The group name is Garnet, which is then subdivided into 6 species called Almandine, Grossular, Spessartite (sometimes spelled Spessartine but the same thing), Andradite, Pyrope and Uvarovite. Everything else is a variety. (This is illustrated well on page 578 of The Lure Of Gems – Fourth Edition.
What makes Niassa Garnet unusual in this respect is that it is made up of two different species of Garnet, being approximately 2 parts Pyrope to 1 part Almandine. More specifically it has been stated to be in the area of 70%/30% in respect of Pyrope to Almandine. Whilst this beautiful little anomaly to the Garnet family tree is already very special (it is classified as Pyrope simply as this is the dominating species), what makes this story more interesting is that Rhodolite Garnet is actually greater than the sum of its parts.
It is widely accepted in gemological circles that Pyrope can appear a little dull as a stand-alone gem, and Almandine is known to be generally troubled by inclusions. Rhodolite Garnet is famed for improving on both of these traits – it is brighter than Pyrope and MUCH less included than Almandine.
So already Rhodolite Garnet is a true stand-out gemstone. Add to this that the gem is never treated and we have a real miracle of nature on our hands. It is ALWAYS 100% natural, NEVER treated. For most gems this would be more than enough to make them stand out from the crowd, as indeed it should be. But we’ve gone
further than this with our Niassa Garnet because we believe the quality of our latest parcel is unmatched in its beauty.
Looking at a Niassa Garnet jewel is a journey of pure luxury. What will you notice first? The luxurious claret tones in the body of the gem? The undertones of maroon and burgundy that sparkle and shimmer within each finely cut piece? Maybe even the flashes of bright red coming from the brilliance of the stone, evoking thoughts of the very finest Rubies? Whichever you see first, you’ll immediately know you’re looking at something very special. This type of garnet also has a high refractive index – especially for Garnet – giving you a real sparkler of a gem. In fact, it is believed by many to be one of the finest hues created by Mother Nature.
So why Niassa Garnet? Niassa is the name of the province of Mozambique from which we mine this gem. Niassa also houses the town of Cuamba, near to where we source very fine quality Pyrope Garnet – which we name Cuamba Garnet in honour of the town. On its north side, Niassa borders the neighboring country of Tanzania and not so very far over the border you’ll find Tonduru, from where we source world-beating Colour Change Sapphire. It also borders another province of Mozambique called Zambezia, which houses the Marropino Mine – home of some of the most delicate, beautifully warm pink Morganite we’ve ever seen. This entire part of the world, making up three countries on the east coast of Africa, is incredibly gem rich. In fact they could be thought of as the Trio of Treasure: Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. Across the water in Madagascar we find even more of our most precious and sought after stones. Mother Nature really imbued these lands with some of her finest work.
Another of the very high quality Rhodolite Garnet’s that we source is mined just down the road from our offices and workshops in Jaipur, India. We call this Rajasthan Garnet in honour of its incredible colour, just like we have with Niassa Garnet. If you were to hold the two side by side, you would probably agree Rajasthan Garnet is a little pinker, whilst still retaining the deep dark luxury look of Niassa Garnet.