Garnet Buying Guide: A comprehensive guide on various types of Garnets
Everything you ever wanted to know about Garnet Gems
When most people hear the name Garnet they think red. But Garnets are more then just a cheap red gemstone. Garnets can come in a wide variety of colors and some can be quite valuable. This guide is a comprehensive look at many different kinds of Garnets and their individual properties.
Garnets have been around a very long time. Dating back to Bible, Noah, it is reported, used a lantern of Garnet in order to safely steer The Ark through the darkness of night. Garnets were known to have been used in 3100 B.C. by Egyptian artisans who created beautiful garnet beads, bracelets and other jewelry. They also used crushed Garnets as an abrasive. The ancient Chinese are said to have used Garnets as bullets! But Garnets did not reach their heyday until the late19th century when Victorian women were practically dripping in Garnet jewelry.
Victorian Jewelry provided by jewelcollect01
Garnet Bracelet and ring
Victorian Era Garnet Cuff Bracelet
German Eagle Brooch provided by trinkettrauma
Types of Garnet
Garnets are actually one of the largest families of gemstones. Most natural garnets are mixtures of two or more of the following pure species.
ALMANDINE Fe3Al2(SiO4)3 reddish brown to brown
ANDRADITE Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3 brown, black or green
GROSSULAR Ca3Al2(SiO4)3 colorless, orange or green
PYROPE Mg3Al2(SiO4)3 dark red to ruby red
SPESSARTINE Mn3Al2(SiO4)3 orange, pink or brown
UVAROVITE Ca3Cr2(SiO4)3 green
Common Garnet varieties:
Pyrope (also called Bohemian garnet, or Cape ruby) is the best know of all garnets. This gem is a deep rich red. This gem is very inexpensive.
Rhodolite: Raspberry red to dark bubble gem pink. Prices are nicely affordable.
Umbalite: Pink to peachy pink. Hard to find and can be costly.
Hessonite: Rich burnt orange to reddish orange. These can get pricey for gems over 1 carat in size.
Spessartite: Red with flashes of orange. Can be dark with brown undertones. Medium price range
Mandarine: Fantastic bright orange. Rare and pricey.
Mali: medium green-yellow (chartreuse) color
Tsavorite: Bright green. These gems are becoming extremely popular and prices continues to rise. Tsavorite is usually not found in large sizes. Gems above 2 carats are rare and can run into the thousands of dollars.
Demantoid: Light green, yellow green, yellow brown. Not found in large sizes. Gems above 2 carats are rare and can run into many thousands of dollars.
Color Change Garnets
Less expensive alternative to Alexandrite
Color change Garnets are in a class all by themselves. They are rare and highly sought after. Color change Garnets have sold for as much as $6,000 per carat! Most color change Garnets on the market today are from Bekily, Madagascar, Tunduru, Tanzania. and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
The Madagascar material goes from a raspberry red to a bluish gray. The Tanzanian material goes from a raspberry red to a teal blue color.
The Ceylon (Sri Lanka) gems change from reddish purple in incandescent to blue, green, gray in daylight.
Ideally, you are looking for a 100% color change with two pleasing colors. In reality, you will only find a lower percentage color change. 40% to 70% if you are lucky enough to find a natural color change gem. The more vivid the colors of a color change, the more valuable the gemstone.
To appreciate the full range of color change in these stones, one needs to observe the stones under early morning light, fluorescent light, late afternoon sunlight, and incandescent light.
Be advised there are many lab created and synthetic color change gems on the market. 100% color change is extremely rare in natural gems. Buy only from reputable dealers and verify with an independent source.
Beautiful Rhodolite Garnet
Rhodolite is mixture of approximately two to one (pyrope to almandine. The gem has an attractive red-lavender color when cut as a gemstone.
Some say the name rhodolite comes from the Greek word, rhodon, meaning rose.
Nice Tsavorite Trillion
Discovered in 1967 Tsavorite is everything an Emerald wished it was.
Intense green color, with good hardness for durability.
The color range of the tsavorite includes a springlike light green, an intense blue-green and a deep forest green
Only in rare individual cases is a raw Tsavorite crystal of over 5 carats found, so a cut Tsavorite of more than two carats is extremely rare.
Tsavorite is named after its only source, the Tsavo Valley in Kenya. It is the chromium colored, green variety of grossular.
Beautiful Umbalite Garnet Pear
Rare Garnet Found only in the Umba valley.
A mixture of pyrope-almandite, with traces of spessartite garnet, light pink/purple in color.
What to look for when buying Garnets.
Orange Hessonite Garnet Octagon cut Squares
Cut: Garnets come in a way of array of shapes and sizes.
Size: Garnets are easily found in sizes up to 10 carats. Larger gems are available but you will pay a premium for gem over 10 carats.
Clarity: Garnet should be flawless or only have a few inclusions. Demantoid Garnets are the exception, they are almost always included.
Cost: Garnet can cost a few pennies for a pyrope to a few thousand for a Demantoid.
Care: Garnets are hearty and can take a daily wear. Clean with a dry soft cloth.
Treatments: Garnets are not normally heated or enhanced in any way.
Source: Garnets are quite plentiful and can be found and many location throughout the world including: Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Canada and USA. In USA garnet has been obtained in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida, California and Virginia. The majority of today's Garnet supplies come from Africa. Notable quantities of garnets have been also found in Czech Republic and Spain. The oranges and browns of Spessartite and Hessonite hail from Namibia and Sri Lanka.
Round Faceted Hessonite Garnets
Hessonite is the Orange variety of grossular garnet.
The color is brownish-orange and is often called "cinnamon stone".
Hesssonite is a Orange-brown, cinnamon colored due to the presence of manganese.
Hessonite contains very distinct honey-like inclusions.
Hessonite is from a Greek word meaning inferior. This refers to it having less hardness than other garnets.
Marquise Faceted Pyrope Garnets
Pyrope comes from a Greek word meaning "fire like."
Pyrope is the only garnet that is always a shade of red.
Pyrope garnet is colored a deep blood red by iron and chromium, giving a ruby like appearance.
2mm round cut Demantiod Garents
The demantoid is one of the most brilliant gemstones that exist, yet until recently it was little known except among collectors and gemstone lovers.
The spectrum of its colours includes many shades of green, from a slightly yellowish green to a brownish green with a golden glow.
Dematoid comes from the French, "demant," meaning diamond. The reason is obvious, with its high brilliance and dispersion. Dematoid garnets are a green variety of andradite. They are known for their golden, "horsetail" inclusions.
Grossular: Pure white Garnet
Near Flawless Grossular Garnet
Members of the Grossular family of Garnets are very light in color ranging from colorless, or near colorless with just a hint of green or orange.
Extreamly rare Star Garnet.
Picture of Star Garnet and text provided by astynax77
Star Garnets are rare, and mostly Almandine, though a few are classified as Rhodolite. The rarest are the 6-ray, which come almost exclusively from Idaho (I've seen some claiming to be from Africa, but haven't found any verification of that source) The 6-ray variety is extremely rare, and the sole deposit in Idaho is nearly depleted.
Star Garnet was adopted as the "State Gemstone" for Idaho in 1967.
Other information about Garnets
Checkerboard cut double sided Mozambique Garnet
Birthstone for the month of January.
The name's origin: Garnets were so called by the ancient Greeks since color reminded them of the pomegranate seed or geranium.
Healing Properties: Garnet is an excellent assistance for blood deficiency diseases. It is said to stimulates bloodstream and pituitary gland, relieves rheumatism and arthritis pain. Garnet combats depression and lethargy. Garnet also stimulates the spleen. Garnet protects against depression and impure thoughts. Cures fevers and promotes good health.
Mystical power: It is said Garnet is a good luck stone and should be carried close to the body. Its energy is balancing and peaceful. This stone of passion stimulates the sexual drive. Garnet gives energy and courage. It is said to encourage robust good health and sexual desire, enhance the wearer's imagination. Garnet symbolizes fire, faith, courage, truth, grace, compassion, constancy and fidelity. It also offers protection to the traveler.
Color is red to reddish purple and sometimes a deep enough red to appear black.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits include the typical rhombic dodecahedron. also seen is the 24 sided trapezohedron. Combinations of these forms are common and sometimes the rare faces of the hexoctahedron, a 48 sided crystal habit that rarely is seen by itself, can also combine with these other forms making very attractive, complex and multifaceted crystals. Massive and granular occurrences are also common.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 7 - 7.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.6 (above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are olivine, serpentine, biotite, hornblende, augite, pyroxenes and diamond.
Other Characteristics: index of refraction is 1.73
Notable Occurrences include localities in Europe; Arizona and New Mexico, USA; South Africa and several Australian sites.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, hardness and environment.
Like the gems you have seen?
Would you like to own one?
Now is your chance!
Dig Your Own Garnets
Places in the US were you can, for free or a small fee, dig for your own Garnets.
The Garnet Hill Recreation Area near Ely, Nevada.
Open to the public and the cost...FREE!
This is an intermediate to advanced level of experience mine.
The Garnet Hill rock hound recreation area in White Pine County is located about 4 miles Northwest of Central Ely in the Eagan mountain range. The major access road to this area joins US Highway 50 about 6.4 miles West of the traffic signal at US 395 and US 50 junction in Ely.
You will need to bring your own equipment.
Gloves, hat , rock hammers, chisels, pick axe and bucket. Remember lots of drinking water!
The Emerald Creek garnet area in northern Idaho.
(The Star Garnet seen above is from this area)
Only open in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
HOURS: 9 AM -to- 5PM, Friday thru Tuesday. CLOSED Wednesdays & Thursdays
Cost: Permits are $10 for an adult, $5.00 for children under 14 .
This is a beginner to intermediate level experience.
Each person is limited to six days per year or 30 pounds of garnets, whichever comes first.
All of the equipment is now be provided so you will not have to bring your own and pack it up the gulch.
For more information contact.
ST. JOE RANGER DISTRICT
222 S. 7th Str, Suite 1
St. Maries, Idaho ~ 83861
208) 245~2531 or Clarkia (208) 245~1134
The Pigeon Forge Gem Mine in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
This is a beginner level experience great for people with kids. You and search the mine for rubies, emeralds, garnets, and more. Everyone is guarantee to find something.
Once you find your gems, you can have your gems assayed to see they are worth. You can also have your gems cut or faceted. They even have settings so you can have your gems made into jewelry.
Mason Mountain Mine and Cowee Gift Shop
Located in Franklin, North Carolina
This is a beginner to intermediate level experience.
No Entry Fee:
Adult - $0.00
Children under 12 - $0.00
General run bucket: $5.00 each
Specialty bags: $30.00 - in 6 categories
Super buckets: $30.00, $50.00, $100.00 and $300.00
ULTIMATE BUCKETS (6 of them): $500.00
More Minning information
There are hundreds of mines that are open to the public throughout the United States mining every kind of gem imaginable
From beginner level mining for the whole family, to advanced do it your self swing a pickaxe good old time get dirty fun.
Everyone can experience the thrill of discovery and treasure hunting.
For a list of mines that may be near you
Franklin, North Carolina has so many mines they have their own web site.
Check out our new location!
Great gems and great prices!
- Natural 3.32 ct Dark Red Spessartite Garnet Oval 9x7mm gem just $20.00
Dark Red Orange
- Huge Natural 13 x 10.7mm Checkerboard Oval cut Rhodolite Garnet gem 9.41 Ct just $50.00
Dark Purple Red
- Natural 5mm Hexagon cut Mozambique Garnet gems stones $10.00 each
Dark Orange Red with flashes of bright red
- Natural 6.5mm Hexagon cut Mozambique Garnet gem 1.35 Ct $15.00
Dark Orange Red with flashes of bright red
- Natural 3.02 ct Bright Red Spessartite Garnet Oval 9x7mm gem
Stunning gem! Dark Red with flashes of bright Red Orange!
- Natural 9x6mm Radiant Octagon cut Mozambique Garnet gem 2.05 Ct $35.00
Dark Red Orange with tons of sparkle and flash!
A Georgian pansy necklace
A Victorian Halley's Comet brooch:
Victorian snake with cabochon Garnets
Garnet and seed pearl honeymoon pin, marked 9ct Gold
These were often given as gifts from a husbands to their new brides back in the late 1800's.
Garnets are considered good luck and are believe to protect travelers. Hence why they were given as a honeymoon gift.
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