A new year brings with it a gemstone known within the gemological world for its variance of color availability of which most may be unaware. January is the month represented by the gorgeous, versatile garnet, which so many have fallen in love with throughout the years. The most popular hue in the garnet spectrum is, of course, the warm, rich red that has made a home in the hearts of many and allowed an entrance to more than its fair share of collections.
Affectionately nicknamed the Arizona Ruby and Gooseberry Garnet, the word itself is Latin for “seed”, befitting as the vivacious gem bears a strong resemblance to that of a pomegranate seed in terms of hue.
Found on virtually every continent but predominantly mined in Russia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, and India, garnets form when shale and metamorphic rocks chemically merge together on plate lines. As the heat and pressure cause the compound bonds, garnets are then produced in a variety of colors with the exception of blue. Additionally, garnets are found in igneous and sedimentary rock, which can be seen as a testament to just how durable these gems can be.
Much like diamonds, the colors range from the rich red, noted previously, to earth tones, vibrant yellow, and olive and yellow-green hues. This favorable gemstone is, interestingly, unable to be altered with heat to produce an alternately desired shade. Each color is associated with its own name, such as almandine (red) and demantoid (green). It’s because of these plays on color that garnet has been used to adorn many pieces of jewelry dating all the way back to ancient Egypt. In these particular items, the stones, later revealed as tsavorite (which holds a vibrant green hue), were believed to be emeralds for a number of centuries.
This is notably a gem that is ruled by color and shade as value does not play off cut and clarity as much as other gemstones. Clarity value is set by the color of the stone itself as some varieties do not hold naked eye inclusions. In terms of carat, all varieties are found in variable size and weight while some hues are rarely found in larger sizes.
Falling at 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale, garnets are durable enough for daily wear in any item in which the buyer is wishing to set these beauties. In accordance to their durability, garnets are loved by jewelers because of their ease to work with.
As with any gemstones, buyers should consult an expert for appraisals and concerns, including cleaning.
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