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January-February 2010

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Connoisseur's Choice: Spessartine Marienfluss, Northern Namibia

In a recent issue of this magazine, the most common member of the garnet family, almandine, was described (Cook 2009). Garnet forms under a wide range of geologic conditions and bulk compositions, resulting in its being one of the most locally abundant group of rock-forming minerals and certainly one of the most popular with collectors. In addition, the pleasing array of orange and red hues of both almandine and the closely related species spessartine have made them a historically important and relatively inexpensive gem material. Consequently, for completeness of our coverage of the garnet-group minerals, and in keeping with the gemstone theme of this year's Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, spessartine has been chosen as this issue's Connoisseur's Choice mineral. To this end, a fine spessartine specimen from Marienfluss, northern Namibia, has been chosen.

Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn, University, Auburn, Alabama. 

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