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Garnet is derived from the Latin word "granum" meaning "grain".
"GRANUM" refers to the typically rounded shape of Garnet and also reminiscent of the seeds of the pomegranate.
Garnets have been widely known for thousands of years. Even Noah, it is reported, used a lantern from garnet in order to safely steer his Ark through the darkness of the night.
Although the color red occurs most frequently, there are also garnets showing different shades of green, pale to bright yellow, blue, blue-green, fiery orange and fine earth- and umbra-shades.
The excellent hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs' scale explains, why these gemstones are so excellent to wear. Garnets are quite sturdy and resistant to everyday wear and tear, and uncomplicated to work into jewelry.
Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January.
Although the color red is occurs most frequently, there are also garnets showing different shades of green, pale to bright yellow, fiery orange and fine earth- and umbra-shades. Blue is the only color that is not available in Garnet. Color change garnets are mostly pyrope and spessartite in composition.
The colorful members of the garnet group:
Pyrope, red garnet, frequently with brown tint
Rhodolite, purplish red or rose-color garnet
Almandite, red garnet with violet tint
Spessartite, orange to red-brown garnet. The best specimen comes from Namibia and is called "Mandarin Spessartine".
Grossularite, colorless, green, yellow, brown garnet
Hydrogrossular, dense, opaque greenish variety of grossularite
Hessonite (Gomedhak ), brown-red variety of garnet
Leuco garnet, colorless variety of grossularite
Tsavorite, green to emerald green garnet
Andradite, black, brown, yellow-brown garnet
Demantoid, the most valuable garnet, green to emerald green
Melanite, opaque black variety of andradite
Tapazolite, yellow to lemon yellow, topaz-like variety of andradite
Uvarovite, emerald green garnet that rarely occurs in gemstone quality.
Pyrope gets its name from its coloration: the Greek word "pyro" means fire. This is one of the most common forms of garnet. Its colour is commonly deep red to black. It forms a rounded, transparent crystal, which, together with its deep red color, makes it a most desirable gem. Some pyrope contains thread-like inclusions which often taper at the ends. Other pyrope garnets can be transparent. Pyrope occurs together with diamonds in Kimberlite pipes (volcanic pipes), and can also be found as rounded, waterworn pebbles in placer deposits (an area in a stream or river where heavy material settles after being carried downstream by the current)
Rhodolite is the name used to describe the lovely pinkish, purplish or lavender Red Garnets which are a mixture of Almandite and Pyrope. This name was first used in the late 1800's to describe the new rhododendron shade of Garnets discovered in North Carolina.
Rhodolite Garnets are not as dark as the common Pyrope Garnets. Rhodolites are normally African in origin and are bright, transparent Gems. Rhodolites are usually Red stones, purplish Red and the popular Raspberry Rhodolite, rich Purple with bright Lavender highlights. Prices are based on the color, size and clarity of the stone.
The name almandite has evolved from the name of an Anotolian city named Alabanda( in Turkey, Asia Minor). Almandite can range in colour from deep red to reddish-brown, sometimes with a violet or brown hue and and it can sometimes have a star-shaped inclusion. The iron in this garnet is frequently replaced to some extent by magnesium and manganese. Although very common, almandine seldom occurs in specimens worthy of gemstone collections. Nethertheless, some almandite was used in early Victorian jewellery.
In the trade, gem dealers hardly ever refer to their stock as "pyrope" or "almandite". Instead, they will often refer to "brown" or Indian garnets.
The best specimen comes from Namibia and is called "Mandarin Spessartine".
Spessatite is named for the area of Bavaria in which it is mined: Spessart. Spessartine is not as common as most other garnets. It occurs in Iskardu, Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Sanyeshan, Guangdon Province in China; Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia; and Berilanda, Ceara, Brazil. The manganese is often replaced by some magnesium and iron. Spessatite ranges in colour from brownish red - caused by iron impurities - to (in some cases) orange. This particular type of garnet is one of the more expensive.
The name grossular comes from the Greek word for gooseberry "grossularia". Grossular is the most varicolored of all garnets. It occurs in all shades of colour except blue. It most often occurs in crystal groups on a matrix, although single crystals and rounded, waterworn pebbles have also been found. Most cut grossular gems are known simply as "Garnets"or "Grossular Garnet", except for Hessonite, which is known by its own name in the gem market. Hessonite is a form of grossular garnet that ranges in colour from deep yellow to brown, and it is is the most famous type of this garnet. Tsavolite or Tsavorite is another form of grossular that comes in shades of green mainly because of its chromium and vanadium composition. It is named after the Tsavo National Park in Tanzania, Africa where it can be found. Other grossular garnets include Leuco, Rosolite, Raspberry, Gooseberry, and Imperial. There even exist grossular garnets that resemble jade and come in a variety of green and multicolored shades. These garnets, known as African jades, have been used in tribal carvings and statue fashioning.
Uvarovite is emerald-green. It is named after the Russian noble Sergei Uvarov. Uvarovite is a rare mineral, and its occurrences are limited. The largest crystals of this mineral come from Outukumpu, Finland. Uvarovite also can be found in Val Malenco, Lombardy, Italy; Sarany (in the Ural Mountains), Russia; and in the Kop Krom mine, Erzerum, Turkey. Uvarovite is the only garnet not made into a gemstone, because it almost never occurs in crystals large enough to be faceted. However, it is quite valuable to collectors, for its colour and rarity make it special.
Andradite has the most powerful luster of any garnet, and this makes it a reputable gem. Its name comes from the name of a mineralogist from Brazil named J.B D'Andrada. The yellow, orange, and brown varieties of andradite are all faceted. Some transparent andradites are described as demantoid, or diamond-like, because of their prismatic abilities and similarity in appearance to diamonds, though andradites are yellow, green or brown. Demantoids are found in a variety of places but the principal and most important deposit is along the Bobravka River in the Ural Mountains of Russia. After this famous deposit was discovered in 1868 demantoids soon became a favourite gem of the Russian Tsars. The green demantoid variety is the main gem form of this garnet, and is the most valuable of all garnets. Other andradites include Topazolite, and Melanite. The opaque, black Melanite variety is sometimes worn as mourning jewellery.
A saturated dark red is first what comes to mind if garnet color is considered.
Now days trend is shifting. A demantoid with its emerald green color is today's most valuable garnet. That applies as well for the emerald green tsavorite, whose quality can reach flawlessness.
It is commonly said that garnets come in every color of the rainbow except blue.
This is still true in natural light, but there are recent discoveries of garnets that turn blue in artificial light.
Garnets are in general very clean gems. Almandine garnets sometimes have asbestos fiber inclusions. These will produce four-ray, rarely six-ray, star stones when properly cut. They are highly prized by collectors, because of their rarity. Andradites are known for their distinctive, horsetail inclusions.
Garnets qualify for any cut and come in various shapes.
Garnet location and deposits
Pyrope: China, Madagascar, Myanmar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA
Rhodolite: Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA
Almandite: Brazil, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and the United States. Smaller deposits exist in Austria and the Czech Republic. Almandine garnet star-stones are found in India and the United States (Idaho).
Spessartite: Brazil, China, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA. The best specimens come from Namibia and are called "Mandarin Spessartine (Spessartite) "
Grossularite: Canada, Kenya, Mali, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA
Hydrogrossular: Myanmar, South Africa, Zambia
Hessonite: Brazil, Canada, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA
Leuco garnet: Canada, Mexico, Tanzania
Tsavorite: Kenya, Tanzania
Demantoid: China, Korea, Russia, USA, Zaire
Melanite: France, Germany, Italy, USA
Tapazolite: Italy, Switzerland, USA
Uvarovite: Canada, Finland, India, Poland, Russia, USA
Common Garnet treatments
Garnet is not artificially enhanced in any way.
At the auction of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis at Sotheby's on April 24, 1996,
a striking cabochon garnet flower brooch from the 19th century was sold for $145,000.
In the same year a university student unearthed in central Australia what is believed to be the
largest single garnet find ever. This giant rough is thought to weight thousands of tons and
Chemical composition, specific gravity, refractive index,
birefringence and absorption spectrum are different for the various members of the garnet group.
The Garnet zodiac, myth & legend
Garnets have been widely known for thousands of years. Even Noah, it is reported, used a lantern from garnet in order to safely steer his Ark through the darkness of the night. Garnets are found in jewelry from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras. Many courageous discoverers and travelers wore Garnets for protection, as they were considered popular talismans and protective stones, because it was believed in those days that Garnets illuminate the night and prevent their wearer from any sort of evil.
Garnet is the birthstone for those who are born in January. On the Zodiac chart, it is listed as the stone for Aquarius.
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages people believed that the cosmos is reflected in gemstones. The garnet is assigned to the planets Mars, Mercury and Pluto. The esoteric movement revived the ancient belief and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it's a fact or a placebo effect doesn't matter, if it helps. The safest approach is to wear the gemstone in skin contact to the troubled part of the body. Garnet is said to be of help for arthritis, pancreas, varicose veins and problems with testicles and toenails.