Garnet is the birthstone for the month
of January & anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage.
Garnet derives its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning
like a grain. This is a reference to the way garnets appear
as grains or seeds embedded in the matrix.
The garnet is actually a family of gems rather
than a single gemstone. They are found in large quantity and
in fine qualities, so a wide selection is available at affordable
prices. Garnet is found in every color of the spectrum except
blue. Colors range from deep ruby red to emerald green.
This family of stones has been dubbed the
gem of faith, constancy and truth. Asian tribes carved garnets
into bullets in the belief that their fiery color would inflict
more deadly wounds. They were ground into powder for the treatment
of fever or jaundice.
The best known members of this family are
the deep red almandine and pyrope garnets. The almandine is
what most people think of when garnet is mentioned, and is
the type we use in our jewelry at Whirled Planet. It is a
dark red with a slightly brownish or violet tinge. The pyrope
tends to have less brown in it.
Another variety, rhodolite, was widely used
in Greece during the period between the reign of Alexander
the Great and the conquest of Rome. Alexander popularized
the cutting of cameos from precious stones, and rhodolite
was ideal for this purpose. Engravers created a button shape
(flat bottom with rounded top) in which to carve their artwork.
This was the forerunner of the ever popular cabochon shape
seen in jewelry to this day.
Spessartite trends into oranges in a variety
of shades from tangerine to cinnamon. In the late 1960's a
new species of garnet was discovered. Tsavorite, named after
the Tsavo region of Africa, resembles a fine green emerald.
This type of garnet is increasingly rare and therefore costly.
The very rare demantoid variety of andradite is an emerald
green with a diamond-like fire. Uvarovite garnet may also
be emerald green, but it is found only in tiny sizes. Grossularite,
another variety of garnet, resembles fine jade.
Fashions come and go but garnet is always
popular. Beyond its designation as a birthstone and anniversary
stone, it is a versatile gem. Whether with denim, lace or
black velvet, garnet is often the perfect match. You can find
in almost every design of jewelry on our site.
To get an idea of the designs we offer in
this popular stone, click here.
article written by Mike McGinnis and published originally
We allow republication provided the piece is copied in its
entirety with links and attribution.)