Malaya Garnet

Trade name for garnets from the Umba valley, Tanzania, belonging to the pyralspite (pyrope-almandine-spessartite) series

Malaya Garnet shop

Origin of name: malaya garnets are found together with rhodolite garnets. When first found in the 1970ies, they could not be classified due to the colour, which differed greatly from rhodolite colour. Thus the new garnets were called malaya, which in Swahili means "prostitute" but also "without familiy" or "not belonging to the family".

malaya granat garnetmalaya granat garnetmalaya granat garnet

Synonyms and trade names: sometimes called "umbalite" after the location in northern Tanzania

Can be confused with: malaya colours range from yellowish-orange, orange and brownish-orange in specimens with high spessartite content, to rhodolite-like colour in almandine-rich gems.
Thus the number of gemstones malayas can be confused with is rather large. Amongst other garnet varieties is can be confused with all other yellowish-orange, orange and brownish-orange gems like e.g. citrine, zircon, sapphire or sphene (titanite), to name just a few.

Localities: the Umba valley in northern Tanzania

Handling: somewhat sensitive to heat, other wise unproblematic to work with

Worth knowing: when found in the 1970ies, malaya garnets caused some commotion in the gemmologist community, as they constituted the first member of the pyrope-spessartite series, unknown until then.

Malaya Garnet shop