Andradite Var. Topazolite Garnet
Small Cabinet, 6.2 x 4.7 x 2.2 cm
Antetezambato, Ambanja District, Diana Region, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar
Rich, cognac colored crystals of glassy and gemmy topazolite, to 1.7 cm across, are widely scattered on a matrix of limestone, metasomatized to massive garnet. Topazolite is a rare variety of andradite garnet, and this specimen hosts what surely must be among the larger crystals of the species. Several crystals are doubly terminated and a few exhibit clear evidence of hopper growth (unusual in garnets) - what appears to be a spot of damage in the photo, on the smallet of the 4 major crystals in the top cluster, is actually this strange, inward-hopperig growth pattern. Dr. Federico Pezzotta, on obtaining the majority control of the garnet production here back in 2008, has gotten to see more than anybody of the breadth of the find. This particular specimen is the one used in his slideshow at the Tucson 2010 show, to illustrate the highest quality of the topazolite crystals from this mine. He specifically pointed out that he considers this specimen to be the top, or at least among the top few specimens, of topazolite from this mine. Since these are apparently the world's best topazolites, for overall size and quality, that is high praise indeed.