Garnets

rhodolite_garnet_raw

Raw rhodolite garnet shows the deep red of the most commonly occurring color of the gemstone.

BIRTHSTONE: January

COLORS: one of the most versatile gemstones, garnets come in a rainbow of colors:  deep red, vibrant green, orange, golden, brown, pink, lavender, and purple.

SPECIFIC GRAVITY:  
3.93 – 4.3

HARDNESS: 
6.5 – 7.5

REFRACTIVE INDEX:
1.77 – 1.82

About:

Long prized for their rich color and brilliance, garnets’ appeal comes from the variety of color and the natural, non-manipulated beauty. The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word for “grain,” because of the rounded crystals and similarity to the red kernels of the pomegranate.

Where Found:

Rhodolite garnet (rose red or pale violet) is found in Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and North Carolina.  Spessartite garnet (bright orange color) are found in the Kunene River in Africa.  Tsavorite (brilliant green) comes from Kenya and Tanzania.

Famous Garnets:

At Sotheby’s auction of Jackie Kennedy’s estate, April 24, 1996, a striking cabochon Rhodolite garnet brooch from the 19th century sold for $145,000.  That same year, a college student unearthed what is thought to be the largest garnet find on earth, a giant rough thought to weigh thousands of tons, measures nearly 100 feet across.

Lore:

Known as the “stone of health and commitment,” the ancients believed garnet to be of help for arthritis, pancreas, and varicose veins. Reflects the attributes of devotion, warmth and understanding. It is said to instill patience, incite personal magnetism and cooperation in instances of change. Long ago, travelers and discoverers wore garnets for protection and because it was believed that garnets illuminate the night and protect the wearer from evil.  Legend has it that even Noah used a lantern made from garnet in order to safely steer his ark through the darkness of the night.

Planets:

Garnet is assigned to the planets Mars, Mercury and Pluto.

Buying Advice:

It’s always best to get a professional gemologist to assess the quality of a stone, of course. In looking for garnets, you need to know that various colors of garnet are called by different names. “Spessartite” is bright orange. “Tsavorite” and “Demantoid,” one of the rarest of gemstones, are green garnets, and may be confused with emeralds or tourmaline.  A fine quality “rhodolite” is purple-red, though it is usually a lighter red than red garnets, both may be confused with rubies.  Almandine” is a pinker tint. “Pyrope” is the red carbuncle stone that sometimes has a brownish tint, and the garnets you may have seen in your great-grandmother’s jewelry is likely a type of Pyrope called “Bohemian garnet,” which was highly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.  ” In general, garnets should be “eye-clean” stones, meaning no inclusions or flaws are visible to the human eye.

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Jewelry: