Garnet is the birthstone for January babies and 2nd year wedding anniversaries
The stone has been coveted for thousands of years. Classic red garnet necklaces adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs. The ancient Egyptians believed the Pharaohs and their families would enjoy all of their prized possessions in the afterlife. Therefore the jewels were ceremoniously buried with the mummified royals. Signet rings with carved garnets were used as seals, to stamp the wax that secured important documents, in ancient Rome.
Red Garnet a Devine Gift
King Solomon was thought to have received four precious stones from god including the Carbuncle, a term often used in ancient times to refer to red garnets.
In Roman scholar Pliny’s time (23 to 79 AD), red garnets were among the most widely traded gems. In the Middle Ages (about 475 to 1450 AD), red garnet was favoured by clergy and nobility.
Red garnet’s availability increased with the discovery of the famous Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe around 1500. This source became the nucleus of a regional jewellery industry that reached its peak in the late 1800s.
The name Garnet is derived from the Latin ‘granatus’ (grain or seed) due to the round shape of the raw gems and the similarity to red pomegranate seeds. Garnets are a set of closely related minerals.
Colours, Colours, Colours
Although red is still popular, contemporary gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colours: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, is rarer and needs rarer rock chemistries and conditions to form. All species of garnets possess similar physical properties and crystal forms but differ in chemical composition. The different species are pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular (varieties of which are hessonite or cinnamon-stone and tsavorite), uvarovite and andradite.
The original source is located in the Ural mountains in Russia, but examples of Ambanja Demantoid for sale by Rocks & Co. are from Madagascar. This variety of Garnet owes its colour to chrome and/or iron, and each deposit yields uniquely different green tones.
An intense golden honey-hued Garnet, hessonite displays similar brilliance. Rare in eye-clean quality, its characteristic inclusions lend it a magical caramel or cinnamon colour, much loved by the ancient Indians, Greeks and Romans. Hessonite is usually extracted in India, but a number of attractive examples have also been found in Tanzania.
Spessartine or spessartite
Its name is derived from Spessart in Bavaria. A manganese aluminium garnet. It occurs most often in granite pegmatite and allied rock types and in certain low-grade metamorphic phyllites. Spessartine of an orange-yellow is found in Madagascar. Violet-red spessartines are found in rhyolites in Colorado and Maine.
Blue pyrope–spessartine garnets were discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. This type has also been found in parts of the United States, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Turkey. It changes colour from blue-green to purple depending on the colour temperature of viewing light, as a result of the relatively high amounts of vanadium.