Gemstone Focus: Garnet

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“The seeds of life” The word garnet is a derivative of the latin word granatus meaning pomegranate. And it is thought that the stone was named because of its resemblance to the seeds of a pomegranate. This traditional January birthstone has inspired many legends and has popular associations with love, friendship, light, and vitality.

It was a favourite of many ancient civilisations. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans adorned themselves with garnet and also used them in signet rings and seals. Medieval once believed garnets to be the eyes of dragons and it was believed that the stone that Noah brought into the ark to light the darkness was a garnet.

Saxon and Celtic kings as well as Native American shaman believed the garnet would protect the wearer from injury. But not only was it believed to be protective, garnets red colour has long been associated with the heart and blood. People believed garnet could counter melancholy, stir the heart to great deeds, prevent hemorrhage, and improve circulation.

Garnet is also the wedding anniversy gemstone for the 2nd year of marriage.

Garnet Facts, Value and Care:

But did you know garnet is actually a family of gemstone minerals that share a basic chemical structure. The addition of various elements and minerals can create garnets in an array of colours not just the red most people associate it with. Among them are the purple/pink of Rhodolite, the near emerald green of Tsavorite, the fiery orange of the Spessartite and Mandarin garnets.

Garnet is a relatively scratch resistant gemstone ranging from a 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Hessonite and Grossular garnets sit on the lower end and should be mounted in a way that protects the gemstone. All Garnets are best cleaned with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. Although relatively hard and tough, garnets can be heat sensitive.  Extreme heat should be avoided.

Value-wise, garnet in most colours is readily available. Colour is the most important factor in determining value along with cut and clarity. In general green (tsavorite and demantoid) and orange (spessartite and mandarin) varieties are most expensive. The most common garnet, the pyrope-almandine is very affordable. Prices for pyrope-almadine garnet range from $5-35 per carat with Rhodolite ranging from $20-$100 per carat in small sizes up to a carat and up to $300 for larger sizes. Green varieties such as tsavorite and demantoid will range form $300 to $15000 per carat, depending on colour saturation size and cut.

All told Garnet is a beautiful gemstone family with colours to suit anyone’s wardrobe and budget!

Thanks for reading

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