Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Almandine from Massachusetts

I came across a very interesting material this Springfield.
Little dark Almandine crystals embedded in blades of metallic grey Graphite schist.
Mined in Erving, Massachusetts, they were interesting just like that, but the way they prepped the material, clearing out the schist out of the back of each individual Garnet, made the beautiful red color pop when backlit.

The production started almost a decade ago but they kept the material out of the market so they could prep a good amount of the material before selling it. It takes about 2 hours to prep each specimen. ( a lot of sand blasting involved)

After about 5 years, the material was finally for sale and the debut was in Springfield.

Most crystals were under 1 cm in average but I saw a few over that size.
The largest piece to come out of the ground, 3 years ago, was 2.7 cm.
Prices vary according to the size of the Garnets more than the size of the matrix.
And of course the clarity plays a factor in the price too.

                                     This is a 12 mm crystal

Gems for sale were around half a carat, well cut, with moderate inclusions.
I was told the the largest cut stone was 4.72 carats.

When the Graphite is mined, you can't really see any Garnets. That is why the preparation takes so long.


Some pieces have interesting black needles. I've been told first that they were Amphiboles.
But later analysis showed them to be Dravite.

I had first pick at the show and selected pieces that had good clarity and were aesthetic. I did get some cheaper smaller ones too. So if you would like a piece, please get in touch.