If you associate January with colours like grey and white, it won’t be a surprise. After all, the first month of the year leaves many parts of the world covered under a blanket of snow and slush. But a gemstone enthusiast often links January to a rich spectrum of colours, thanks to January’s birthstone Garnet. Colourful and versatile, it is one gemstone that can make anyone go weak in the knees. Even the pharaohs of ancient Egypt could not resist its appeal. In fact, this beautiful gemstone has also held people’s fascination for reasons that are beyond its beauty and colours. If this has piqued your interest, it’s time to know some more about this gemstone. Here is a complete guide to garnet to help you make an informed purchase, be it a pair of garnet earrings or a ring or pendant studded it.
Garnet is a silicate mineral with an abundant presence in nature. In its most frequent form, garnet occurs as a deep-red gemstone. But the world of garnets is not limited to shades of red alone. You can avail this semi-precious gemstone in a spectacular array of colours, including fiery orange, earthy brown, sunny yellow, playful pink, intense green, and even in colourless form. Some of them can change colour depending on the lighting. Blue garnets are the rarest ones.
On the Mohs scale, this gemstone scores 6.5 to 7.5. Apart from being a favourite of jewellery lovers, this stone also finds a use for abrasive purposes due to its durability and hardness. It is known as a stone of strong intense feelings with an ability to revitalise the mind, spirit, and body.
History of Garnet
The name garnet comes from the Latin word granatum, which means grain or seed. As the stone resembles the deep red seeds of a pomegranate, it’s been named so. Garnet has always found favour with royalty as well as the common people. Red garnet necklaces adorned the pharaohs of Egypt. Ancient Romans used carved garnets as seals for protecting important documents. According to early Jewish texts, a garnet was the only source of light on Noah’s Ark. In the Middle Ages, the stone acted as a means to cure depression. Some Asiatic tribes even crafted bullets out of this stone. It served as a talisman against evil, disaster, wounds, poisons, and bad dreams. Maybe that is why it came to be known as the Gem of Faith.
Types of Garnet
This is a gem group with more than twenty varieties. Out of these, there are six main gem types: almandine, pyrope, spessartine, andradite, grossular, and uvarovite.
Almandine occurs in shades of red and is the most common gem garnet. Pyrope is inclusion-free and is also red in colour. Spessartine is a rare type of garnet usually having shades of yellow-orange. Andradite displays varied hues like green, yellow, black, pink, brown, etc. Green andradite is especially prized. Grossular is colourless in its pure form. It is also the type with the most colour variations due to impurities and is widely used as jewellery stones. Uvarovite occurs as small crystals. This is a rare kind and exhibits rich green colour.
Colour change garnets are a class in themselves. They are rare and are valued for their distinct ability to change colour.
Birthstones and Anniversary Stones
Garnet is the birthstone for January. It is the gemstone for the second anniversary. So if you are looking to buy a gift for someone born in January, gold rings or pendants studded with these beautiful stones make a great pick.
Real Garnet vs Fake Garnet
The desirable colours of garnet make it a highly attractive gemstone. But if you don’t exercise caution while buying it, you may end up with a fake one. Knowing how to identify a real garnet can prevent you from getting cheated. Real garnets display a rainbow of yellow and green bands when held close to your eye. Due to their hardness, they can scratch steel but are resistant to scratches from sharp steel items. You won’t be able to scratch quartz with garnet and vice versa. As they are high in clarity, garnets do not display blurring or clouding if you look through them.
How to Buy Garnet Jewellery?
Thanks to their rainbow hues, garnets make excellent jewellery stones. They are used to craft a wide range of jewellery items, from exquisite rings to gorgeous tiaras. Before buying garnet jewellery, consider the ‘four Cs’ of the gemstone: colour, cut, clarity, and carat.
Colour: Colour is the most important feature in a garnet. You can avail this stone in almost any colour. Though red is the most popular and abundant colour of this gemstone, green is the most valuable and expensive one. The blue variant is rarely found and can’t be afforded by all. The colour change varieties are also quite rare.
Cut: Garnet is a versatileClarity: stone that can be cut in various shapes. Round, cushion, and oval are among the popular cuts of this stone. Rare and expensive garnets are fashioned into different shapes so as to retain the most carat weight.
Garnets are valued for their clarity and lustre. Generally, they do not contain inclusions. Some varieties like the almandine garnets sometimes display a star effect due to an inclusion. Such varieties are highly valued due to this rare effect.
Carat: This stone is available in various weights and sizes. Some garnets occur in large sizes and are quite economical. Some rare garnets are found in small size and their value increases with size.
How to Look After Your Garnet Jewellery?
To maintain the shine and brilliance of your garnet jewellery, you need to care for them. Here are a few things you need to consider:
- To clean garnet-studded jewellery, use warm soapy water and a soft brush.
- Avoid exposing your gemstone to extreme heat.
- Do not use steam or ultrasonic treatments for cleaning your garnet jewellery.
- Take care to protect your jewellery from chemicals and harsh blows.
- Store your garnet jewellery in a fabric-lined box to avoid scratches
Garnets are an easy way to jazz up your life with colour. So, go ahead and indulge in the beauty of this wonderful gemstone.