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Garnet marks the birthstone for the month of January and is the name given to a large group of silicate minerals.
Most people associate Garnet with the colour red, when in fact it is produced in a variety of colours.
Their dazzling colours which undergo no treatments have made them an inspiration to work with in the jewellery world.
HISTORY OF GARNET
The word Garnet derives from the Latin word 'granatum' meaning pomegranate and 'granatus' which means like a grain, alluding to the crystals resemblance in colour and its size to pomegranate seeds.
Garnet has many uses other than jewellery and ornaments. These include water-jet cutting, filtration granules, abrasives for sanding and cutting. Garnet is even used in skid resistant paints and is used as a filler in concrete due to it being so hard and resistant to weathering.
Garnet is a complex mineral group with twenty-seven species and even more varieties within those species.
Five of the species are what the jewellery industry deem gemstone quality, they are:
Pyrope Garnet, these are red to pink in colour. The presence of iron gives it this colour.
Almadine Garnet, these species occur in deep orangey-red to purplish-red and are often known as 'Star Garnet'
Spessartine Garnet is found in a range of fiery oranges, yellowish-reds to red-purple.
has the widest
range of colours. They can be colourless, orange; which is due to ferrous iron, pink, yellow and brown. They are mostly used to create cabochons, beads and carvings.
There are two species found within Grossular Garnet they are:
Tsavorite, this type of garnet is rare. Fine qualities of this type boast a vivid brilliant green. Their colour is natural and occurs like this because there are trace amounts of vanadium or chromium. Tsavorite is often found in small sizes.
Hessonite Garnet also known as ‘Cinnamon Stone’ exhibits orange, yellowish-orange to red-orange colours. It is the presence of manganese and iron that provide these tones. Hessonite is mainly found in Sri Lanka and also located in Brazil and California.
Andradite Garnet includes three varieties: Demantoid Garnet, Topazolite and Melanite; often called Titanian Andradite.
Demantoid Garnet is one of the most valuable and rare Garnet varieties. Occurring in vivid greens to yellow. It’s green colour is achieved from chromium. The presence of ferric iron the causes the yellow tones.
Topazolite forms in a larger crystal structure to other garnet species. It occurs in yellow, orangey-yellow, yellow-green colours. Iron and titanium are responsible for colouring this crystal.
Melanite is a natural black opaque crystal. The presence of Titanium gives this variety of Garnet it’s lustrous black hue and the iron content gives it magnetism; this magnetism is what helps to distinguish it from other opaque black gems.
Melanite can be found in Africa, Russia, USA and Europe.
Thousand of years ago during the period of Egyptian Pharaohs and Medieval times; some 500 years ago, Garnet was seen as a protective stone and used as talismans to protect against evil spirits.
Garnet is associated with attracting and activating love, passion and success.
Garnet is said to bring good fortune to one whom it belongs, lo and behold anyone who thieves this gemstone as it is set to bring them ill-fortune.
Garnet is also associated with bringing support during a crisis.