This name is like a big umbrella covering a variety of stones that are all very similar in chemical composition. The difference between these silicates is where they are mined and the metal particles found in the silicate. Magnesium, iron, chromium and aluminum give each garnet gemstone its unique shade of red or other color. |
Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the deep red gem resembled a pomegranate seed because of its color and round shape. They were very fond of the gems and used them in their jewelry and other embellishments. In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra wore the red gem probably thinking it was a ruby. Back then, they didn't know that this gem came in more colors than just red.
There are about 14 different varieties and most are mined in Africa. Tanzania, Namibia and parts of South Africa are common mining locations. Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States also have gem deposits. Carl Faberge used the emerald green stones found in the Urals of western Russia in many of his pieces.
A multitude of colors
Though the word garnet is tied to the word red, there are actually many different colors available. In fact, every color along the spectrum can be found except for blue. The most valuable gem is not even red, it is emerald green.
The varieties, demantoid and tsavorite, are the two most popular green stones and they can be quite expensive because of their rarity. With the discovery of new mines in Namibia, they may become more common.
However, the shades of red are still classic and always will be. But, if the traditional idea of a garnet necklace is not appealing, consider a yellow, black or even orange stones to drape your neck. It is all a matter of taste.
The garnet is the official birthstone for January. It is also the gem for the Zodiac sign of Aquarius, so some lucky February babies can claim it as their birthstone as well. Another official occasion that warrants a gift of garnet earrings or some other piece is the 2nd wedding anniversary.
How to care for garnet jewelry
Depending on the variety, these gems range from a 6 to a 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that they are quite durable and suitable for daily wear in all types of jewelry. They are not as delicate as other gems with the same rating because there is no cleavage present which makes it easier for the stone to split. It also makes it easier for the cutter.
A soak in warm soapy water should be sufficient to clean the grime that collects from daily wear. If lotion or soap remains in the setting, a quick scrub with a toothbrush is safe and will not scratch the stone.
Whether the stone is emerald green or violet red, it makes a beautiful and versatile piece of jewelry. A garnet pendant set in silver or gold can be worn casually or with formal wear. Whatever the need is, this gemstone offers a solution with its many shades of reds and other colors.
The garnet is the official birthstone for January and the gem for the Zodiac sign of Aquarius. With its many colors, this gemstone makes a beautiful and versatile piece of jewelry. For rare and unusual collections of garnet jewelry, visit www.gemaffair.com
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