Garnet’s name finds its roots in the Greek ‘granatus’ meaning pomegranate, representing both the aesthetic qualities of the fruit’s deep red colour and granular shape of the seeds. Many different sources reference garnet’s affinity with femininity with some believing they should only be worn by women. The healing stone is also said to protect the wearer from nightmares, bring success in business and boost confidence. Garnet is celebrated as the symbolic gemstone for second wedding anniversaries, the birthstone for January and the astrological sign Aquarius in the zodiac calendar.
The luxurious garnet gemstone is commonly found in locations such as Italy, Mexico, Spain, Kenya and Russia. Garnet has colours ranging from browns, reds, oranges and yellows to purples, greens and blacks. The most popular garnet gems are those which are transparent, faceted stones. Ancient Egyptians regarded them as the symbol of life and they are known to represent eternity and commitment, making garnets a great gemstone to add to an eternity ring or unusual engagement ring.
Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colours: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds and even some blues. Red garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, is rarer and needs rarer rock chemistries and conditions to form.
One special type of garnet that has become very trendy lately is the bright orange Spessartite.
Spessartite takes its name from the place where it was discovered, the mountains of Spessart in north-west Bavaria, Germany. A spessartite garnet is typically orange-yellow, orange or orange-red in colour, due to the presence in its chemical make-up of the element manganese.
An interesting feature of spessartite is that it cannot be enhanced in any way, which means that if a stone is particularly beautiful, you know it is all natural.
One of the more expensive spessartites ever sold was a mardarin garnet weighing somewhere in the region of 8 carats. It fetched a price of $2,400 per carat.
Garnet is a durable gemstone however it will need some care in order to keep your jewellery looking as good as the day it was bought. Garnet should be stored in a soft pouch or jewellery box to prevent scratching and damage. Soap and liquid cleaners should be avoided as these may cause the stone to become dull. Harsh detergents or chemicals such as bleach or chlorine could cause erosion of the stone. To clean garnet rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft jewellery cloth.
How to Find out More About Garnet Gemstone Jewellery:
The GIA encyclopedia is an excellent resource if you want to do a deep dive on the garnet.
.Learn more about the spessartite garnet, including its fascinating background and use in high jewellery in Jewellery Insights by Katerina Perez, called Collectors’ Stones: the Spessartite Garnet.