Spessartine is a member of the garnet family that is unique due to it’s unusual color. As is common in the garnet family, it is actually a blend of several species. At one time it was quite rare, but it has become more available now that new deposits have been found throughout the world. Spessartine is a very interesting gem for its properties, characteristics and metaphysical attributes making it worth the time to take a closer look.
General Information about Spessartine
Spessartine was named after the Spessart Mountains between southern Hesse and northwestern Bavaria, Germany where it was originally found in the late 1800’s. It was actually used long before that, however, by the Egyptians to honor their goddess of war, Sekhmet.
Spessartine was frequently worn as a talisman during battles for Christians and Muslims alike to protect their bodies against poison and other types of physical harm. It was also important to royalty; it was considered to contain colors associated with kings, noblemen, monarchs and the sun.
Properties of Spessartine
- Alternative names: Fireball garnet, Mandarin garnet, Erinite, Kashmirine, Partschinite and Garnet of the Sun.
- Hardness: 6.5 to 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs scale with no cleavage.
- Color: Spessartine can be found in red, scarlet, reddish-orange, orange, deep-golden orange, burnt orange, yellowish-brown, reddish-brown, yellow or pink depending on where in the world it is mined.
- Specific gravity: 4.12-4.32.
- Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven.
- Transparency: Transparent to translucent with feather-like inclusions that make it distinguishable from other garnets.
- Luster: Vitreous to greasy.
- Varieties: Brandaosite, Calcium-Eisenspessartin, Emildine, Johnstonotite and Spandite.
Spessartine is a manganese-aluminum garnet called a nesosillicate. They are found most often in magmatic, metamorphic, pegmatitic and similar rock types that occur in low-grade metamorphic phyllites. Their different colors are often associated with where they are mined. For example, the violet-red varieties are found in rhyolites in Colorado and Maine.
In nature they are found as a blend of other species developed into well-formed isometric, trapezonhedral, dodecahedral or trapezohedral-dodecahedral crystals. They also are sometimes found in dense crystal clusters, grainy aggregates, drusy, massive and veins in host rocks. The largest stone discovered so far weighed more than 2,800 carats . It was mined in Amelia County, Virginia at the Rutherford mine. In honor of where it was found, it was dubbed the Rutherford Lady.
Metaphysical Details about Spessartine
Spessartine is believed to activate the sacral and solar plexus chakras, facilitate kundlini awakening and heightening your ability to manifest desires. As such, it turns negative energy into positive energy. The color selected brings different powers to enhance life while resolving issues:
This color brings success, happiness, power and enthusiasm which is why it was the choice of kings. It promotes a profound, deep sense of commitment and devotion enhancing enthusiasm and the ability to share a lifelong commitment of care and love.
Orange brings friendship, joy, family togetherness and pleasure. This color is a happy and sharing stone that integrates the pieces of our communal lives while bringing things and people together. It is also a stone of physical pleasure and intimacy which is why it’s been dubbed “the sex stone”. In lighter shades it promotes companionship and affection while the darker shades enhance the sense of belonging and home.
This color reflects the color of vitality and strength both in physical and spiritual forms. It is an amulet of protection from physical harm and can help you overcome fear while improving your self-reliance. It is also the crystal of success, victory and skill.
This color increases your enthusiasm. It is associated with the color of passion, energy and life. As such, it motivates you to act and is the color of fire and blood. It embodies strong, deep feelings and durable energy and passion in subdued forms while increasing devotion and viewing life seriously. In lighter shades it’s energy and power in each area is toned down but increases determination, commitment and caring.
The orange color is the most highly desired since it promotes mental, physical and emotional stability while enhancing imagination and creativity. The gems are said to facilitate goal-oriented victories and were termed “the sex stone” because they were believed to enhance your sexual attractiveness and libido.
They can boost fertility, improve circulation, fortify the immune system, balance calcium in the body and enhance bladder, heart, small intestine and kidney functions. Best of all, they can serve as an excellent remedy for insomnia. Emotionally, they increase analytical processes toward life and work. They also promote happiness from within, increasing feelings of satisfaction and contentment. Spessartine gems override the constraints of fear and utilize fire energy to bring you warmth, enthusiasm and zeal.
Most interesting is that Spessartine has always represented primordial fire, the creation of the world out of chaos and purification and love. There are a host of angels attracted to Spessartine, especially your Guardian Angel. The gem is used to honor three goddesses (goddess of war Skhmet, goddess of spring Persephone and goddess of home and hearth Hestia) while serving as a talisman of protection from physical harm.
Where Can We Find Spessartine Today?
Today Spessartine can be found throughout the world. The original mines in Africa have found fewer sources of the gem over time, but they have now been found in many other countries since the mid-1990’s. In addition to Africa, mines are now located in China, Pakistan, Tanzania, Madagascar, Germany, Australia, South America, Myanmar (Burma), India, Afghanistan, Israel and the U.S.. Due to the increased availability, the gemstone can now be found at affordable prices in stores throughout the world as well as online.
As with any underground mining venture, there are inherent risks. However, in the U.S., new safety regulations are minimizing those risks and making the mining of precious gems safer than ever. In other countries, strict regulations exist in some countries even to the extent of requiring the land to be returned to its previous condition at the conclusion of the project. In others, on the other hand, no regulations exist at all making mining a much more dangerous occupation.
The Final Analysis
Spessartine is among the most important of all the colored gemstones. It has an excellent brilliance, sparkle and hardness. It is almost always completely natural and untreated which makes it especially attractive to collectors. Fortunately, today it is more readily available which has lowered the price considerably. However, finding quality deposits is still a challenge and the existing deposits are not expected to last very long.
It’s important to remember that gem collecting isn’t restricted to the rich and famous. Many times, the motivation has more to do with a gem’s metaphysical properties than with its value in the gem world. Do you have a piece of jewelry or natural Spessartine gemstone that you purchased? We’d love to hear about your experiences with the gem and whether or not it really works the way described.