|Grape Garnet Ovals and Emerald Cut|
|Larger Grape Garnet Pieces from Mozambique|
Anyway, given the fact that these gems have not shown up anywhere so far but these two dealers, I surmise that the finds are very small.
So what is unique about these gems? Well, both Jaimeen Shah at Prima and Josh Lents from GAL have never seen this stuff before. Nor had the other seller I talked with. And that says a lot. The color is a bright grape purple (purple with "notes" of red). The material is clean, most pieces are smaller, and those have the best color.
Why the name Malaia, and not Rhodolite? Well according to Josh, Rhodolite is Pyrope and Almandine garnet. But the microscopic association of this material isn't typical, Josh says, which is why he believes there's some spessartine in it as well. And that would qualify it under Malaia. He says that "Reviewing both spectral and microscopic analysis, it is interesting to note the association of apatite and rutile inclusions present in these samples, which is highly characteristic of mixed garnet crystals of pyrope, almadine, and spessartine."
Here's a look inside these pretty pieces:
|Micro images of Mozambique Grape Garnet|
And what about the most important thing, availability? The honest answer is that nobody knows. I would surmise that some locals sold these gems, and they got here through the chain I described. Who else has it, where it is located, nobody traced that back as of yet.
For the time being, all the rough that I know of (from the original purchase) has been cut. The larger pieces my supplier had are already all sold, so there's just what I have (the two smaller emerald cuts are also sold). I may be able to get more 6x4 ovals. Word has been put out for more, and some will presumably show up sooner or later. Usually however, when "word is put out" and there's not a ton of stuff, prices will be higher next time. For the miners and brokers that have to live hand to mouth, long term planning or relationships with gem dealers are a luxury. If you can sell for more today and feed your kids, you will. Prices are calculated from there on up.