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All You Need To Know About The Birthstone Gemstone Called Garnet

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Garnet is a gemstone that has been around for centuries. In fact, the earliest jewelry containing this gemstone can be dated back to about 3000 B.C.! The Greeks were the first people believed to use this gemstone for royalty and authoritative purposes. Signet rings containing the gem have been found and dated back as far back as late 400 B.C.

In Ancient Egypt, the gem was often worn in amulets and talismans. It is also believed that the Ancient Egyptians buried it with their dead in order to offer them protection and light their passage through the afterworld.

What is it?

The name garnet is thought to come from the Latin word granatus, meaning grain. This is a possible reference to the Punica granatum, or pomegranate fruit, which contains seeds similar in color to certain varieties of the gem.

It is a nesosilicate. This means it belongs to a group of silicate minerals that contain only single, non-combining groups of tetrahedrons. The silicate minerals make up the largest and possibly most important class of rock-forming minerals.

All You Need To Know About The Birthstone Gemstone Called Garnet

Types

Six common species are recognized based on their chemical composition. These include pyrope, almandine, spessartite, grossular, ovarovite and andradite.

Garnet is found in a variety of colors including red, brown, orange, yellow, green, black, pink, clear and even blue. They even come in color-changing varieties. The blue variety is considered the rarest and was only recently discovered in Madagascar in the 1990’s. It is also found in the United States, Russia and Turkey. It tends to change color in different lights and is often mistaken for Alexandrite.

The most common color found in the market today would be red to reddish-brown. However, there are a few others that can be moderately easy to find and can offer you something different than the typical color.

Tsavorite

Tsavorite, or tsavolite, is a beautifully vivid green grossular variety. It was first discovered in East Africa along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. It is found in only a few mines in the bare, dry hills near Tsavo National Park.

Hessonite

Another type of grossular garnet, hessonite is often referred to as the “cinnamon” stone. This is due to its brownish-orange coloration. This type is most commonly found in Sri Lanka.

Spessartine

Spessartine was discovered in the late 1800’s in Spessart, Bavaria; hence the name “spessartine” or “spessartite”. Recent finds in Namibia (1991) and Nigeria (2000) have recently made this beautiful orange variety more abundant and relatively affordable. The most valuable specimens feature a bright, reddish-orange color and are found in Namibia.

Mining

Different types of garnet are mined all over the world. Some areas where large or important deposits are found include Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and the United States.

Folklore

This gemstone is often said to contain powers of healing, protection and strength. It is often worn to relieve skin inflammation, cure depression and regulate blood flow to the heart. Long ago, it was often exchanged between friends to ensure they would meet again.

The red variety of garnet is thought to symbolize passion and is often referred to as a “love stone”.

Routine Treatments

Unlike most gemstones, garnets are not routinely treated for use in jewelry.

Care

Most types rank between a 6.5 and a 7.5 on the moh’s scale of hardness. Avoid placing your garnet jewelry into your jewelry box with stones that are harder, as scratching may occur. Mild soap and water should be enough to clean your gemstones.

The tsavorite and almandite varieties tend to the most sensitive varieties of garnet. Care should be taken to avoid exposing these gems to sudden temperature changes.