Garnet – the January birthstone
View our garnet roughs or faceted garnets
Garnet, the January birthstone, is derived from the Latin word granatus, meaning grain like. Garnet crystals can also look very similar to pomegranate seeds. Garnet is a combination of minerals with similar physicochemical properties. Garnets have a variety of names based on the particular color of the crystal. Most people think garnet gems only come in red; this is a fallacy. These exquisite crystals come in all colors
Some garnet crystals include:
- Demantoid- yellowish brown- rare and expensive
- Color change- beautiful to see
- Hessonite- fine orange, brown
- Glossularite- pink
- Malaya-variable color-red to orange
- Mandarine- bright orange- rare and expensive
- Melanite- rich green
- Pyrope (cape ruby) the most well known, common deep red
- Rhodolite- purplish bright red and fabulous
- Spessartite- red mixed with orange- medium price
- Tsavorite- dark green and expensive
- Umbalite- pink and popular
- Color Change – excellent to see
- Mallaia – a mixture of 2 garnets, hugely popular
A few garnet crystals can also exhibit different colors when viewed in different lights. But the color variety is just a tiny part of the gem. It is a member of an extended variety of stones that are natural, sparkling and very reasonably priced. In fact, garnets are frequently used by fashion designers to make beautiful jewellery pieces.
All species of garnets are used as gemstones. The use of garnets as gemstones has a long rich history. It is claimed that Noah steered the Ark through darkness using the light from garnet crystals. The Egyptians often crowned the pharaohs with beautiful bracelets and necklaces adorned with garnet. The ancient Chinese rulers used garnets to decorate military uniforms.
Garnets also have been associated with having mystical and healing properties. Some individuals wear garnets to relieve arthritic pain, combat depression and maintain good health. Others believe that the garnet can arouse passion, increase libido and promotes energy.
The use of garnets as contemporary piece of jewellery did not start until the 19th century. The color change garnets are usually imported from Madagascar, Russia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, Canada, USA, Thailand, Spain and the Czech Republic. In most cases, one color is dominant and the others not so. To appreciate the color changes, always examine the garnet in different light settings. The story about garnets would not be complete without highlighting the two most beautiful garnets-umbalite and tsavorite. Both are intensely brilliant.
From the central plains of East Africa, near the mountains of Kilimanjaro is another classic garnet, the Tsavorite. This brilliant green grossularite gem, like demantoid is in high demand and not always available in sizes above 1-2 carats.
Garnets come in many cuts and shapes. While red garnet used to be the only known garnet, tsavorite is now considered to be the most valuable garnet. Garnets are durable minerals and easy to look after. Garnets which appear in different colors are rare and high sought after. Some of these pricey garnets can cost anywhere from $4,000-$6,000/carat. Pink Garnet is the highest of fashion at present
Unfortunately the gem industry also is heavily infiltrated with fakes and synthetic gems; so to avoid any disappointments always buy from a reputable dealer.
Garnets are fast becoming the most sought after gems on the market today.
Such a wide array of colors, now including Blue Garnet.