The crystal structure of nikmelnikovite, Ca12Fe2+Fe3+3Al3(SiO4)6(OH)20, a new member of the garnet supergroup from Kovdor massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia (R|$\bar{3}$|forumla, a = 17.2072(6), c = 10.5689(4) Å, V = 2710.1(2) Å3 and Z = 3) has been refined to R1 = 0.046 on the basis of 1184 unique observed reflections. Nikmelnikovite is the first mineral species in the garnet supergroup that has a trigonal (rhombohedral) symmetry. The relationship between its unit cell and the pseudocubic (ideal garnet) unit cell can be described by the transformation matrix [1|$\bar{1}$|forumla0 | 01|$\bar{1}$|forumla | ½½½]. The crystal-chemical relations between the ideal Ia|$\bar{3}$|forumlad garnet and the nikmelnikovite structure type can be described by the following series of imaginary modifications: (1) the symmetry is lowered according to the Ia|$\bar{3}$|forumladR|$\bar{3}$|forumla group–subgroup relationship; (2) the cation sites are split according to the following sequences: X → {X1, X2}; Y → {Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4}; Z → {Z1, Z2}; (3) the X sites remain fully occupied by Ca; (4) each Y site is occupied predominantly by a distinct chemical species: Y1 → Al (Al site), Y2 → Fe2+ (Fe1 site), Y3 → Fe3+ (Fe2 site), Y4 → vacancy (Mn site); (5) one of the Z sites (Z1) is occupied by Si, whereas the other site (Z2) is predominantly vacant. The crystal-chemical formula that takes into account the transition between the archetype and the nikmelnikovite structure type can be described as X{Ca12}Y[Fe2+Al4Fe3+2□]Z(Si66)O24(OH)204. The structural complexity of nikmelnikovite (4.529 bit/atom and 434.431 bit/cell, after H-correction) is higher than those for andradite, grossular and katoite, which is typical for low-temperature minerals formed after primary minerals with simpler structures.

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