The Gemstone Garnet
Garnet is not a single mineral, but describes a group of several closely
related minerals. Garnets come in a variety of colors and have many
different varieties. However, the most widely-known color of Garnet
gemstones is dark red. When the term "Garnet" is used, it is usually
connotative of the dark red form; other color Garnets are usually given
more descriptive gemstone terms.
The properties below are generic to all Garnets; see the specific Garnet gemstone pages for more precise details.
Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray, Black
6.5 - 8.5
Garnet is a series
of several different minerals with unique chemical formulas. See The chemical formula of Garnet
are the most widely used Garnet gemstones. Though Almandine is the most common Garnet, it is usually opaque and not fit for gemstone use. Only the less common transparent dark red forms of Almandine are used as gemstones. Pyrope is especially noted for its transparency and frequent lack of flaw
s or inclusion
s. A rose-red to violet variety of Pyrope (or intermediary
between Almandine and Pyrope) is known as Rhodolite
, and is a very well represented in the gem trade.Spessartite
is an orange to orange-red form of Garnet, and has recently increased in popularity, with several new deposits of gem grade material having been recently exploited. Grossular
, the most varicolored form of Garnet, has the important gem variety of green Tsavorite
, as well as orange-brown Hessonite
and a yellow to yellow-green form.Andradite
, the most lustrous of the Garnets, has the rare green Demantoid
variety, the yellow Topazolite
variety, and the black Melanite
, the rarest of the familiar garnets, is seldom found in crystals large enough to be faceted, and is the least represented of all the familiar Garnets.
Color-changing Garnet is an interesting form of this gemstone that has a different color when viewed in natural and incandescent lighting. It can have several color combinations, especially brown or orange in daylight to a pink or light red in incandescent light.
Garnets occasionally displays asterism
in the form of four-rayed stars. However, Star Garnets are very rare, and generally occur in opaque stones with only a weak asterism effect; thus interest in Star Garnets are limited.
Garnet is a very popular gemstone, and is the most well-known dark red gemstone. Red Garnet gemstones (Almandine
) are very affordable and faceted into all types of jewerly, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. Round cabochon
s of red Garnet are also popular and used in rings and bracelets. The variety Rhodolite
has become a very important jewelry gemstone, and the rare green Tsavorite
Garnets make exquisite and costly gemstones. Color Changing Garnet
has sparked recent interest, and it is most often used in rings. Other forms of Garnets such as orange Spessartite
, yellow Grossular
and black Melanite
are also used as gemstones.
Garnet is the birthstone
There are many forms and varieties of Garnets. The six main Garnet mineral types are:
The list below are more general Garnet variety names that are commonly used:
Garnet that exhibits a different color in natural and artificial light. Color-Change Garnet is a intermediary mix between the Pyrope and Spessartite (though closer in composition to Pyrope), and presents a color change from a light brownish, yellowish, or greenish in daylight to a pink or purplish color in incandescent light. A few rare specimens may even have a bluish color, which is extremely rare for Garnet.
Olive-green to emerald-green gem variety of Andradite Garnet.
Light green to light greenish-brown variety of Grossular Garnet.
Orange to orange-brown, transparent variety of Grossular Garnet.
Light pink, transparent gem variety of Grossular Garnet.
Colorless, transparent variety of Grossular Garnet.
form of Spessartite Garnet (or more accurately a mixture intermediary between
Spessartite and Pyrope) that originates in the Umba River Valley in
Tanzania and Kenya. This term is sometimes also used as a synonym for Spessartite.
Garnet gemstone from the African country of Mali that ranges in color from green to yellow to brown (though most often a greenish-yellow). The deposit of these Garnets was discovered in Mali in 1994, and this form of Garnet is a relatively new gemstone. The scientific classification of the Mali Garnets are not clearly identified; they can be either Grossular or Andradite, though are usually an intermediary form closer in chemical structure to Grossular.
Bright orange to orange-red Spessartite Garnet, usually originating from the African countries of Namibia and Mozambique.
Lustrous, opaque black or very dark red variety of Andradite Garnet.
Grossular Garnet with a light-mint-green color.
Red Garnet from the African country of Mozambique, which produces fine quality Garnet gemstones. Mozambique Garnet is usually Almandine, but may also be Pyrope.
Raspberry-red variety of Grossular Garnet.
Rose-red form of Garnet with a light color or more purplish color than typical Garnet gemstones. It is usually an intermediary variety between Pyrope and Almandine, though more closely towards Pyrope in composition.
Form of Almandine Garnet that exhibits asterism in the form of a four-rayed star.
Light orange to orange-yellow Spessartite Garnet, usually originating from the African countries of Namibia and Mozambique.
Yellow to brownish-yellow variety of Andradite Garnet.
Green to emerald-green transparent variety of Grossular Garnet from Africa.
Treatments & Enhancements
Garnet gemstones are not enhanced, and their colors are always natural. Treatments such as heat treatment
have proved ineffective upon the Garnet gemstones. Several synthetic Garnets are simulants of other gemstones. The most widely known synthetic Garnet is Y
arnet (YAG), Y3
, and it is a colorless simulant of Diamond
. Widely used until the 1970's, YAG has lost its stake Cubic Zirconia as a Diamond simulant. G
arnet (GGG), Gd3
is another synthetic Garnet form. It is rarely used as a gemstone though, and is most often produced for industrial and optical uses.
s are made of a colored glass bottom with a Garnet gemstone fused to the top of the stone. Garnet doublets are rarely created anymore due to the affordability of Garnet gemstones.
See the individual Garnet gemstone pages for specific localities of each Garnet type.
Due to the great color variations of Garnet, many other gemstones may be confused with it. In addition, many of the individual Garnet varieties can be similar to each other. View the individual Garnet gemstone pages for specific similar gemstones for each Garnet type.
below represent a single sample of each of the main Garnet gemstone
forms and varieties. More photos can be found on the individual Garnet
Garnet in the Rough Photos
The images below represent a single sample of each of the main Garnet gemstone forms and varieties. More photos can be found on the individual Garnet pages.