In A League Of Its Own
Garnets are so chemically unique that they are categorized as their own gem group with several sub-species: almandine, pyrope, spessartite, grossular, andradite, uvarovite. Even more interesting is that stones can be combinations of two or more garnet species.
When you think of garnets, you typically imagine a dark syrupy red color but they can come in a plethora of colors from a cinnamony orange to an electric green color. The most valued garnets are green tsavorites and demantoid gemstones, both intriguing in appearance and origin.
Tsavorites were discovered in 1967 in a region bordering Kenya and Tanzania known as the Tsavo West National Park and are only found in this one area.
Demantoid garnets are known for their beautiful chrysotile inclusions that are reminiscent of flowing horsetail hair. They are found in parts of Africa and Europe, but the best specimens come from the Ural mountains of Russia. Demantoid garnets were incredibly popular in Victorian and Edwardian jewelry.
Ultimately this gem family is best known for the romantically red almandine garnet and the raspberry red rhodalite garnet.
Garnet has ancient ties dating back to Sumeria and Egypt, and they were used as currency throughout the Roman empire. Garnet even played an important role in the bible as the lantern safely guiding Noah's ark through treacherous waters.
Garnets were an important stone in the pioneering of the gem cutting trade. The discovery and development of the bohemian garnet in the Czech Republic helped facilitate the development of technology needed to cut harder stones like sapphire and diamonds.
It is the birthstone for January and the traditional gift for the second wedding anniversary.
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Historically, garnets have been used in jewelry since the first recordings of mankind as bezel set uncut rough, carved signet rings, bohemian garnets, and faceted gemstones that come in every shape, color, and size. The gemstone is versatile and somewhat hard and very popular in rings.
Garnets can be cleaned with a soft brush in warm soapy water or wiped with a soft cloth. When stored they should be wrapped to prevent scratching by harder stones such as diamond and sapphire. Avoid harsh chemicals when wearing this stone or any kind of jewelry.