Garnet Overview

A glittering stone that’s incredibly popular, garnet is one of the more common gems on the market. However, common doesn’t mean boring, as you’re about to find out! Garnet is the collective name for a group of minerals. This varied mineral group makes the stone diverse and contributes to the wide range of red and orange colours. These stones have been around for over 5000 years, so they’ve certainly stood the test of time. They’re commonly used in jewellery and are often confused with rubies.

Occurrence and Mining

Due to its abundance and availability worldwide, garnet stone come in many forms and varieties. Currently, most of these gems come from the USA, India, Sri Lanka and Brazil, but they have been mined on almost every continent in the past. Because they are available in so many different colours, garnet stone prices can vary dramatically. They tend to range from around $500 a carat with inclusions, up to around $7000 per carat for the larger, clean stones. The most valuable garnet is Demantoid and it’s priced near the top of the spectrum.

Quality Factors

Pyrope and almandine range in color from purple to orangy red. Spessartine is a variety of orange colors, while andradite comes in yellow to green. Grossular has a wide color range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, to a strong, vibrant green..
Typical garnet clarity depends on garnet type. For example, the red garnets almandine, pyrope, and rhodolite typically do not have eye-visible inclusions. Some of the orange garnets, like spessartine and hessonite, often have eye-visible inclusions.
Many garnets are cut into standard shapes and standard sizes to allow easy setting into jewelry. This is especially true of many red garnets. Expensive garnets like fine-quality tsavorite are cut into shapes and cutting styles that allow more of the weight to be retained from the rough.

Identification

Color

virtually all colors, blue is very rare

Crystal habit

Rhombic dodecahedron or cubic

Cleavage

Indistinct

Fracture

conchoidal to unevenMohs scale hardness

Mohs scale hardness

6.5–7.5

Luster

vitreous to resinous

Streak

White

Specific gravity

3.1–4.3

Refractive index

1.72–1.94

Birefringence

None

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