Garnet


Garnet technically refers to a family of gemstones that come in every color of the rainbow except for blue.  The gemstone that we usually mean when we say “garnet” is the almandite or pyrope garnet which comes in deep shades of red.  The properties that make garnet a wonderful gemstone are its very high luster (ability to reflect light almost like mirror) and range of very strong colors.  Red garnets are not especially rare so quality peices can be had quite affordably.

6 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Garnet

  1. Color: The most important information you need when choosing a garnet is the range of colors.  Garnets are available in nearly every color of the rainbow except for blue.  The most common color of garnet is dark red, which can be very affordable.  More rarer types of garnets include oranges and greens which can be very expensive. See some pictures and learn more about How COLOR affects the value of a garnet 
  2. Clarity: The second most important characteristic that determines the value of a garnet is its clarity.  Garnets that are difficult to see through or have many internal flaws (called inclusions) are less valuable than garnets that are perfectly clear. Learn more about How CLARITY affects the value of a garnet
  3. Cut: What distinguishes a good garnet gemstone from an amazing garnet gemstone is often how well it’s cut. A perfect cut reflects a lot of light and shows a lot of sparkle.  Look at pictures and learn more about How CUT affects the value of a garnet 
  4. Size: Another factor that affects the value of a garnet is its size.  Garnets don’t usually come inv ery large sizes (usually under 3 or 4 carats), so small differences in size can affect the price.  See how different garnet sizes compare and How SIZE affects the value of a garnet 
  5. Meaning and Symbology: Garnet is the birthstone of the month of January and has many healing and beneficial properties. Learn more about garnet meaning and symbology to see if it’s something you relate to.

The Most Valuable Red Garnet

The most valuable garnets are a strong bright red or raspberry red.  They are perfectly clear (no inclusions) and perfectly cut.  They are also large (over 3 carats).

Lowest Value: These beads are examples of the lowest quality garnet available.  Their color is too dark – they almost look black.  They are very included -we almost can’t see through them at all.  And finally, they are quite small and have not been cut, but rather tumble polished. Low Value:   This little garnet is a vast improvement from the ones to the left.  It has a nice glowing red color and decent clarity.  However, it is quite small (about 1/8 carat) and that detracts from its value.  A garnet like this would be worth less than $10. Medium Value:    This garnet is valuable for 2 reasons: 1) It has an excellent “raspberry” color. 2) It is very large (4 carats).  It’s main detractor is it’s poor clarity.  Because of its poor clarity, it was not faceted but cut en cabochon. HighValue:     This garnet has an excellent bright red color.  It is over 3 carats, with a good cut and decent clarity.

Here are some “samples” from some other members of the garnet family.  You can click on their names to access their pages.

garnet

Almandine

garnet

Pyrope

Spessartine:

spessartite garnet

Mandarin

garnet

Color change garnet

Rhodolite

Rhodolite garnets are chemically similar to  almandite and pyrope garnets.  Their distinguishing feature is their pink to purple hues.  Because of their color, they were named after the flower “rhodedendron”

Grossular

Grossular garnets range in color from rich bright green to burnt orange to pale yellows.  They were named for their green colored varieties, after the “gooseberry” plant.

garnet

Tsavorite:

Tsavorite is a green garnet that can have very deep bright colors, the best of which rival emerald. Tsavorite is one of the more expensive garnets.

garnet

Hessonite

garnet

yellow grossular garnet

Andradite

Andradite garnet is a very rare and small group of the garnet family.  They have very high dispersion (the ability to make rainbows), like a diamond but even more intense.  The only important variety in this family used for gem purposes is the demantoid garnet

Demantoid:

This is the most valuable member of the garnet family.  It has many of the same properties of diamond (hence the name) including dispersion (rainbows) and high luster(metalic shine).

MalayaMalaya Garnet is a combination of grossular, spessartine, almandine and pyrope garnets (with regard to it’s chemical make up).  For a long time it was considered an “outcast” because it was so difficult to categorize.  This is reflected in it’s name, Swahili for outcast.  It comes in many shades, usually peaches, oranges, pinks and reds. garnet garnet

Hydrogrossular

Hydrogrossular Garnet is another unusual member of the garnet family.  It is always opaque, but takes a very high polish and occasionally, beautiful patterns and colors are available.

garnet

Uvarovite

Uvarovite Garnet is unusual and very rare.  It is almost never transparent, so it’s use in jewelry is limited to the drusy form of the crystal – it’s bright colors and high luster make it very sparkly.

garnet

Drusy, or “Transvaal Jade”

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