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Malaya (malaia) garnet is one of the rarer and more interesting ‘hybrid’ varieties of garnet. It is primarily a mix of pyrope and spessartine, which was first discovered in the 1960s.
The Mohs’ hardness is 6,5 – 7,5.
The garnet group is made of many differently colored minerals with similar crystal structure and related chemical composition. The main representatives are Pyrope, Almandite and Spessartite , Grossularite , andradite and Uvarovite. The name Garnet derives from Latin for grain because of the rounded crystals and similarity to the red kernals of the pomegranate.
The term “malaya” was derived from a Swahili word meaning ‘outcast’ or ‘prostitute’. Miners gave it this name because when it was first discovered, local dealers wouldn’t buy it, simply because it didn’t fall into any of the standard garnet categories; thus, it was cast aside.
Malaya garnet is found primarily in East Africa’s Umba River Valley which borders northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. In 1993, discoveries of similar material were also reported in Southern Tanzania. There have also been deposits found in both Madagascar and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

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