February 21, 2011
Almandine and pyrope garnets are often confused with each other because they are so similar. There are scientific gemological means to differentiate one from the other, but essentially they are the same stone but differ colour due to variable amounts of their colouring molecules. Although almandine is found worldwide, some notable countries that mine almandine are; South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic (Bohemia), Russia, Pakistan, India and Canada.
Rhodolite was named after the mountain rhododendron, a magenta coloured flower that grew in the mountains of North Carolina, USA where the first rhodolite was found in 1882. Gemmologically, rhodolite is the variety of garnet that sits in the middle of the pyrope-almandine solid solution series; meaning the rhodolite is roughly composed of around equal amounts of both pyrope and almandine type garnet. The colour of rhodolite varies from pale rose-red with hints of purple reminiscent of the flower from which it was named, through to deep, grape purples with secondary tones of intense rose-red. Unfortunately, the original deposit has long been depleted. Currently rhodolite is being mined in Tanzania, India (Orissa), Sri Lanka, Malawi, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique and Kenya. Like with all garnets, there are no recognized treatments and synthetics are not commercially produced.
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