Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gem for the zodiac sign Capricorn.
Garnet is not a single mineral but describes a group of several closely related minerals. When the term “Garnet” is used, it is usually the dark red type and other colour garnets are given more descriptive gemstone names. All garnets have essentially the same crystal structure, but they vary in chemical composition. Garnets have great brilliance due to their high refractive index and they have a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
There are more than twenty garnet categories, called species, but only five are commercially important as gems. These species are further divided into varieties with different colours and characteristics.
When the term “Garnet” is used, it is usually Almandine and Pyrope.
Almandine is the most commonly occurring garnet, though it can be usually opaque and not fit for gemstone use. The less common transparent dark red forms of Almandine are used as gemstones. Almandine is nearly always dark in colour, and it forms dark red to reddish-brown garnet gems. Almandine is the hardest form of garnet, and a pure deep red is its most valuable colour.
Pyrope is especially noted for its transparency and frequent lack of flaws or inclusions. Pyrope garnets are usually a lighter colour and more transparent than the similar almandine garnets and sometimes have a very slight brownish tint.
Red garnets are very affordable and used into all types of jewellery, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. As they are commonly available in larger sizes so there’s no dramatic rise in value as size increases. Garnets are cut into standard faceted shapes and sizes and into cabochons and beads. They are also popular for designer cuts and carvings.
Traditional folklore creates a strong link between red garnet and blood and it is thought to stimulate the metabolism, relieve skin conditions and regulate the heart and blood. Red garnets were worn to enhance bodily strength, endurance and vigour.
Rhodolite Garnet is a blend of Pyrope and Almandine. The origin of the name is from the Greek word, “rhodon”, meaning rose. Their colour varies from rose to purplish-violet red. They tend to have high clarity and be very transparent. Rhodolite Garnets are popular in all standard shapes and sizes.
Rhodolite Garnet is known as the stone of Inspiration and is said to stimulate one’s sense of self-worth and alleviate feelings of inadequacy.
Grossular is the most vari-coloured form of garnet. Varieties include green Tsavorite, orange-brown Hessonite which often has eye-visible inclusions and finally a yellow to yellow-green form. Colour-changing garnet is an interesting form of Grossular garnet that has a different colour when viewed in natural and incandescent lighting. It can have several colour combinations, especially brown or orange in daylight to a pink or light red in incandescent light.
Grossular Garnet exemplifies hope, empowerment, and all things nurturing from Mother Earth. It is said to be a stone of prosperity and abundance; encouraging gratitude and service to others.
Tsavorite Garnet is the emerald-green variety of grossular garnet that originates in Africa and was first discovered in Tanzania in 1967. Tsavorite has become one of the most popular and expensive of garnets. They 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.
Spessartine is a yellow-orange-red form of garnet. The reddish forms of Spessartine contain a blend of Almandine. They were first found in the Spessart region of Germany. Spessartine garnets are thought to stimulate the brain, strengthening logical reasoning, mental clarity and activating imaginative thinking.
Mandarin Garnet is a rare form of yellow-orange spessartine garnet which has recently increased in popularity. It often has eye-visible inclusions. The vivid orange is the most valuable, especially clean stones in larger sizes.
Andradite is the most lustrous of the Garnets. Varieties include the yellow Topazolite, and the black Melanite and the rare green Demantoid. Demantoid is more commonly found in small sizes, so their value goes up significantly with size. It is often cut to exact proportions that allow the best possible display of its fire.
Uvarovite, the rarest of the familiar garnets, is a green garnet that usually occurs as crystals too small to cut. It is sometimes set as clusters in jewellery.
Garnet has excellent wearing qualities but still requires some care. Avoid wearing garnet jewellery 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.
View our Garnet jewellery below: