Imperial Malaia Garnet - GIA Letter #1

International Importers of Quality Gemstones
Specializing in Fine Faceted Colored Gemstones
272 Broadway #732
Methuen, MA 01844

March 27, 1998

GIA Gem ID Lab
5355 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Attn: Shane McClure

Dear Shane:

Enclosed are the two stones that I mentioned in our telephone conversation slightly over one week ago. I have also included an unknown piece of rough and a stone faceted from similar material - it is from Madagascar, and with my instruments here, my cutter and I thought that it could be hiddenite, but most likely diopside(?). The stones we discussed include a Mali garnet which is green in the pavillion and orangy near the crown - it faces up as a nice looking Tsavorite, and a large one at that! The other stone is from a strike which came to my attention back in about 1996. The material is from Madagascar and typically isn't very clean in any size, but the inclusions can be cut around or hidden - thereby producing eye clean stones of melee to one carat sizes. Larger faceted pieces over two carats is uncommon and pieces over 3cts are very far and few between - there are two reasons for this finding, the rough just isn't found that large and to find a really nice piece of this material so that it will cut a clean stone, limits the number of pieces dramatically. I know of approximately 5 stones faceted that were over 3cts, but I have yet to see one in the 4ct range. The material is found within in the center of the country and supposedly takes 3 days to get there. The 'garnet' crystals are about the size of a fist or softball, but are all fractured, producing small bits and pieces - many rarely over 1 grams and on rare occasions, a few over 2grams, and of these, even fewer would produce cleanish stones. The black inclusions seem to be platelets or lily pads vs. my initial thoughts of globular shapes. I have heard from one individual who claims that the inclusions have different colors such as green and red (separate inclusions). The material has a color shift from pale orange to a rosy color (incandescent) and gives the impression of dichroism. I have read an article that mentioned there were materials where the longer the light remains in the item, the more red flashes are picked up. From the few people I have sold this material to, they have indicated that gemologist have yet to sight ID the stone, and some have guessed all kinds of stones, including fancy diamond. I have gotten an RI of 1.76+/-. Everyone seems fascinated with the material. I can obtain some more pieces, but it is costly and I would most likely have to buy it outright.

Other material that GIA might find of interest:

7.6+ct color change sapphire
(Kashmir Blue to Purple, over 50 years old, recut, origin is Sri Lanka). Christie's
said it was the finest they had seen.

A 500ct Watermelon Slice (6-8mm thick) from the 1972 Newry Maine Tourmaline
Strike - Carl Francis of the Harvard Gemological Museum indicated to me in 1994
that it was the best watermelon slice that he had seen.

A 21+ct U.S. faceted Neon Apatite, eye clean, super cutting, super color - superb
and a museum piece. Find me that museum!

There will be a 3-5ct Paraiba-Like tourmaline coming back from the cutters within
about one month.

Due out soon are some large neony Grossular garnets from Tanzania - hopefully the cutting, clarity, color and size will wow the audience!

That's it for now. I believe that I can obtain a few more of the Imperial Malaia Garnet should there be interest. I have lots of incredible pieces (all types of species) should anyone at GIA or those associated with the GIA, have an interest - for examination or for purchase.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call.


L. Allen Brown
Gemologist - GIA
All That Glitters