GARNET: January Birthstone
Garnet has been used as a gemstone for over 5,000 years. It has been found in the jewelry of many Egyptian burials and was the most popular gemstone of Ancient Rome. It is a beautiful gem that is usually sold without treatment of any kind. It is also durable and common enough that it can be used in jewelry at a relatively low cost.
TYPES OF GARNETS
- Almandine—Almandine is the most widely used garnet in the gem trade, almandine has a scarlet color with overtones of brown. This garnet is most often found in jewelry because it is abundant and inexpensive.
- Spessartine— Spessartine is known as the Garnet of the Sun. Spessartine’s shades range from pale yellow to orangish-red and like the other garnets, always occurs as a blend with other species.
- Andradite— Andradite is made up of variable composition and may be red, yellow, brown, green or black. Andradite is the most is the most lustrous of the garnets and has several gemstone varieties.
- Pyrope—Pyrope is one of the most well-known types of garnets, pyrope ranges in color from violet to deep scarlet. It is the only member of the garnet family to always display red coloration in natural samples.
- Grossular—Grossular is the most varicolored of the garnets. Pure grossular is colorless; the wide range of colors in this garnet is caused by various impurities. Some grossular types have their own unique variety or trade names, and are only called by these names in the gemstone market.
- Uvarovite—Uvarovite is the rarest of the familiar garnets, and is seldom used as a gem. The color of uvarovite is a deep chrome-green, and uvarovite is a unique garnet being that it only comes in one color.
GARNET QUALITY FACTORS
Garnets are a group that includes a number of different minerals, so appearance can vary widely. The first thing a buyer of garnets needs to be aware of is the wide variety of garnet types. At first, the sheer number of garnet varieties can seem bewildering. When deciding which garnet to buy, think of garnets in terms of color.
- Color. Pyrope and almandine range in color from purple to orangy red. Spessartine is found in a variety of orange colors, while andradite comes in yellow and yellowish green. Grossular has perhaps the widest color range of any garnet species, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, to a strong, vibrant green.
Gemologists and colored stone dealers further subdivide some garnet species into varieties depending on color. For example, demantoid is a brilliant green variety of andradite that’s highly prized by collectors. Both 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.
- Clarity. Typical garnet clarity depends on garnet type. For example, the red garnets almandine and pyrope, typically do not have eye-visible inclusions. Some of the orange garnets, like spessartine, often have eye-visible inclusions. Grossular is typically translucent, making it popular for cabochons, beads, and carvings.
- Cut. Many garnets are cut into standard shapes and standard sizes to allow easy setting into jewelry. This is especially true of many red garnets. Expensive garnets like 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. 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.
- Carat Weight. Garnets can be found in all sizes and weights. Some garnets, like demantoid and tsavorite, are more commonly found in small sizes, so their value goes up significantly with size. Other garnets, like almandine, are far more common in larger sizes so there’s no dramatic rise in value as size increases.
Garnet Hardness & Strength
Garnet Jewelry in Boca Raton