The name ‘malaya’, a Swahili word meaning ‘out of the family’, came to be used for garnets. The names pyralspite and umbalite have been used synonymously but have largely fallen into disuse in preference to the more marketable name Malaya. Malaya is an intermediate between spessartine and pyrope, originally from the Umba River valley in Tanzania. The colour of malaya ranges from yellowish brown and brownish pink through a cinnamon to a crisp honey brown and reddish brown to a brick or brown orange: also orange, red-orange, peach and pink. Lighter tones are considered more desirable, and true pinks are among the rarest of all garnets, regardless of hue. Honey peach and pinkish orange tints are the most desirable. Stones of a browner orange colour resemble hessonite or spessartine and are more common. Brown is the least desirable component. Umbalite,
however, is normally described as having a purple component approaching that of light ‘raspberry’ rhodolite or a light reddish pink with a hint of purple. However, more confusingly, they have occasionally been erroneously described as grossular by the trade. ‘Imperial malaia’ and ‘champagne garnet’ are different marketing terms for the same brownish pinkish orange material from Madagascar.
Malaya garnets from Bekily, Madagascar, are intermediate members of the pyrope-spessartine series with variable contents of almandine and subordinate grossular. Compositions fall within the range Py24-68Sp13–59Al4–25Gr3–5Go0.1–0.5Uv0.1–0.5 with the pyrope molecule only rarely 50%. The colours of these garnets are related to their iron and manganese contents and within the Py24-68 range are orange to light pink. With increasing iron, the pink component is intensified and with increasing manganese the orange colour becomes stronger.