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Glorious garnet shows off its nuance

Glorious garnet shows off its nuance

By Lauriane Lognay

Photos by Lauriane Lognay/Rippana, Inc.
Photos by Lauriane Lognay/Rippana, Inc.

My follow gemmologists, I ask you: Is there a group of gemstones more intriguing and complex than garnets? This gem represents such a significant part of our industry. With more than 20 categories, garnet is, indeed, a wonderous and diverse stone.

The term “garnet” comes from the Latin word granatum, meaning pomegranate. This monicker is due to the gem’s resemblance (in its rough shape) to the seed of the fruit. Though most often represented in its classical variety—the pyrope or almandine-red colour—garnet exists in a variety of hues. What’s more, it is also available in a range of prices!

Additionally, contrary to the diamond, the corundum, or even the tourmaline, garnet doesn’t have a family. Rather, it belongs to a “group” for a very peculiar reason.

What do we know?

A familiar gem in the market, garnet is known for its red colour and affordability. It is also January’s birthstone.

Garnet is a popular choice because, apart from some heating (and even that is rare), the gemstone is never treated, and doesn’t need to be. It is often found in large sizes and is, overall, quite a pure stone. Further, it does not have any well-known synthetics, apart from yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG), which is rarely seen.

Garnet has a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, depending on the variety, which means it is a solid gem to set in any jewellery type.1 Additionally, it can be found almost anywhere in the world, with no shortage in sight. Flawless gems in large sizes are recovered fairly easily.

As an added bonus, garnet also displays several interesting phenomena, including four- to six-ray asterisms, some colour change, and, in rare cases, cat’s eye.2

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