Gem of plenty, garnet is one of the few gem varieties that spans a broad spectrum of color. Named for its likeness to pomegranate seeds, garnet is best known for its shades of red. But most are surprised to learn that garnet is found in multiple hues of pink, purple, green, yellow, orange and brown.
January’s birthstone, garnet is also the suggested gift for the 2nd wedding anniversary. Known as the gem of commitment, garnet has historically signified faith, friendship, loyalty and truthfulness. Believed to calm anxiety, cheer the heart, encourage guidance and inspire creativity, garnet illuminates the bright disposition of those who wear it.
A majority of the garnet varieties can be classified as one or a mixture of five types: Almandine, the most common type, is dark red to brownish-red. Pyrope is a deep, vivid red. A blend of pyrope and almandine is rhodolite, a light to dark pink to purplish red. Andradite comes in yellow, green or brown, known as demantoid when emerald in color. Grossular garnet comes in yellow, orange and brown, known as tsavorite in its green variety and hessonite when cinnamon colored. Spessartite comes in shades from reddish-brown to yellow orange.
Lively, bright colors usually command higher prices in better qualities of garnet that are typically eye-clean. Rhodolite, particularly in its reddish colors, and spessartite [see below] in bright orange red, are uncommon and considered more valuable, with the rarest garnets recognized as tsavorite and demantoid. Garnets are typically not enhanced.
Spessartite is a form of garnet with an unusually high refractive index, which helps to make this radiant orange/red gemstone a very brilliant stone. Spessartite garnet was originally named after the site of a find in Germany and until 10 years ago was a very rare stone. Recent discoveries in Africa and Madagascar have substantially increased its availability