Beguiling Garnet Gemstones
Imagine sitting by a fire on a cold January evening. As you snuggle into a fluffy throw, you glance at your hand letting your eyes linger on the warm radiance of a stunning garnet ring in 18K yellow gold. Could you have chosen a more perfect piece of jewelry? Only if you’re also wearing a garnet necklace and earrings. Let’s face it: garnet goes with January whether it’s your birthday month or not.
A Quick Look Back
We have a garnet bead necklace found in an Egyptian tomb that dates back to 3,000 BCE. In ancient Greece, Plato had his portrait carved on garnet, and the ancient Romans used garnet to carve signet rings. And by the time of Pliny (23 to 79 CE), it had become one of the most widely traded gems.
In Roman times . . .
What do pomegranates have to do with garnets? More than you might think. Garnet’s name comes from the Latin word granatum meaning “pomegranate.” More specifically, garnet refers to the vibrant red seeds of the pomegranate.
Though the name “garnet” embodies the stone’s predominant shade, over the centuries, we’ve learned that garnet refers to a group of silicate minerals of different colors. In addition to orangey red Almandine and pinkish red Pyrope, I’m fascinated by Spessartite, a reddish orange, and Tsavorite, a vibrant green garnet, named after Tsavo National Park in Kenya near where it was discovered.
Oh yes, and one more
The rarest of all garnets is the brilliant highly-saturated green Demantoid or Andradite. The finest of these gems come from three mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains. This remarkable gem boasts a higher dispersion rate than diamond. Demantoid Garnet has been found in other countries — Namibia and Madagascar — but the gems from Russia are by far and away the finest. Their price is similarly steep which means they remain the domain of gem investors.
Yellow takes garnet up a notch
Any shade garnet looks beautiful in white gold or platinum. But to achieve the spectacular, set them in yellow gold, preferably 18K.
Mozambique or Rhodolite?
Mozambique garnet has the warm “blood red” shade that most people associate with garnet, while Rhodolite has a luxurious raspberry hue. Both combine almandine and pyrope in different ratios. Mozambique has a 1:1 proportion of almandine and pyrope. Rhodolite is 1:2 ratio with two parts of pyrope — a pinker gem. Our garnet is mined in East Africa, India, and Sri Lanka and is available in a full range of shapes.
Irresistible Garnet Gemstones
With garnet supplies plentiful, prices are reasonable, and garnet’s brilliance makes it appear more expensive than it is. There are no known treatments for garnets.
In the Jewish Talmud, a ‘Midrash’ (story) about the “Great Flood” records that a radiant red garnet safely steered Noah’s Ark through the thunderous storms and endless rain. And it is believed that Garnet is one of the stones God gave King Solomon.
Protection and Healing
Centuries of explorers and travelers carried it for protection on journeys far from home and crusaders set garnets in their shields, armor, and buckles believing its protection would stop bleeding. Throughout North, Central, and South America, native tribes wore it to ward off evil influences and spirits.
Today, as in the past, Garnet is most prized as the stone of romantic love and passion reflecting creativity, positive energy, self-confidence, and success. What woman wouldn’t want a piece of garnet jewelry?
Caring for Garnet Gemstones
- It measures 6.5-7.5 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, making it durable and resistant to everyday wear.
- Clean Garnet using warm, soapy water and a soft brush. You can clean most Garnets in an ultrasonic but not all of them, so use it with caution.
- Keep Garnet away from eroding chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid and avoid drastic temperature changes that may fracture the gem.