Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gem for the zodiac sign Capricorn.
Garnet covers a family of more than 1o different gemstones of similar chemical composition, with a Mohs scale of 7 to 7.5.
Pyrope and almandine range in colour from purple to orangy red. Spessartine is found in a variety of orange colours, while andradite comes in yellow and yellowish green. Grossular has perhaps the widest color range of any garnet species, from colourless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, to a strong, vibrant green.
Demantoid is a brilliant green variety of andradite. Tsavorite and hessonite are varieties of grossular. Tsavorites are green, while hessonite ranges from orange and orangy red to brownish red. Rhodolite is a purplish red variety.
Typical garnet clarity depends on garnet type. For example, the red garnets almandine, pyrope, and rhodolite typically do not have eye-visible inclusions. Some of the orange garnets, like spessartine and hessonite, often have eye-visible inclusions.
Garnets have a high refractive index, the cause of their great brilliance.
Many types of garnet are cut into standard shapes and standard sizes.
Some garnets, like demantoid and tsavorite, are more commonly found in small sizes, so their value goes up significantly with size. As they are more expensive fine-quality tsavorite are cut into shapes and cutting styles that allow more of the weight to be retained from the rough. Demantoid is often cut to exact proportions that allow the best possible display of its fire. Other garnets, like almandine, are far more common in larger sizes so there’s no dramatic rise in value as size increases.
Garnets are also popular for designer cuts and carvings. Red garnets are classic materials for cutting into cabochons and beads. They are commonly found to have high clarity and to be very transparent.
Garnet has excellent wearing qualities but still requires some care. Avoid wearing garnet jewelry when using harsh chemicals like bleach or sulfuric acid as these can cause damage. Use warm soapy water and a soft cloth to clean your garnet jewellery. Be sure to rinse well to remove all soapy residue. As with most other gemstones, avoid the use of ultrasonic cleaners, as well as heat steamers. Garnet can scratch other gems and also be easily scratched by harder gems such as sapphire and spinel so always store garnet jewellery separately.