The striking Garnet! There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these vibrant stones, the designated stone of choice for January birthdays – or a dazzling gift suitable for any special day!
Garnets are primarily known as a dramatic deep-red stone available in a variety of rich red hues – but garnets have been discovered in most every color of the rainbow (of all the garnet colors, blue garnets are perhaps the rarest).
Garnets can range from completely opaque to sharply translucent. There are also garnets found with inclusions – inclusions that may create interesting star-shaped patterns or even a change in color as the gem reflects rays of light.
The word “garnet” was derived by Albrecht von Bollstadt, a German theologian who lived from 1193 to 1280, from the Latin word granatus, meaning pomegranate seed. And, tonally, it’s not difficult to see the similarity between a shining garnet and a fresh pomegranate seed.
Garnets have been discovered in a diverse range of hues thanks to their formation from a wide range of minerals. Mineral compositions and their associated garnet colors are:
- Almandine: Typically deep red, but may also appear as a dark brownish red or black.
- Andradite: Red, yellow, green, and brown tones.
- Grossular: Mostly green, but may also be brownish red or yellow.
- Pyrope: Red. The most common type used in early jewelry pieces.
- Spessartine: Orange.
- Uvarovite: Bright green.
Garnets are found around the world, often as individual crystals or pebbles, or sometimes as inter-crystal clumps. Many of the garnets used in today’s jewelry are found on the African continent in Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Garnets are also found in the United States, Brazil, China, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Poland, Finland, Russia, Myanmar, and more!
Joslin’s has wide variety of garnet jewelry available in deep reds and also bright greens. Garnets are rated a 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale. This means they are strong enough to be used in many jewelry applications – but are not recommended for pieces that are designed for daily wear, like engagement rings for example. When wearing and storing garnets, it’s best to keep them out of contact with harder gems, as those harder stones may cause damage to the garnet if they have repeated contact or friction.
Although garnets may not be a stalwart of daily wear, they are excellent for special occasion pieces such as pendants, earrings, broaches, and more!