The mandarin garnet is a part of the garnet, specifically the spessartine garnet family. But while members of the spessartine family can come in various colours, ranging from orangish red to a reddish brown, the mandarin garnet is unequivocally orange. However, the definition of a mandarin garnet can vary slightly since the name is more a trade term than a fixed denomination for a particular mineral variety.
The term mandarin garnet has been used to describe intensely orange garnets from Namibia as well as for other spessartine garnets that were of a distinctly orange hue. The cause of the orange colour in these gemstone is a particularly high manganese content. Like all garnets, mandarin garnets are a mixed species, being made up from a majority of spessartine combined with some parts of pyrope garnet as well as almandine garnet.
While spessartine is relatively common, occurring in countries all over Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, the specific mandarin garnet is less abundant. They only occur in Namibia, Nigeria Tanzania and in a few areas in the United States of America.
It can generally be said that mandarin garnets are not treated in any way. This makes this precious gemstone a great choice for lovers of natural, unenhanced gemstones.