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Garnet

By Gemporia

A stunning and diverse treasure, Garnet is, technically speaking, a group of gemstones. Historically often confused with Ruby, you might think of Garnet as a red gem, but a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours is possible – from striking rich reds, to spicy oranges, sunny yellows and more. As well as being January’s birthstone, Garnet is also used as an anniversary gift for the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversaries.

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ORIGINS

India is known for its red Garnets, which have been mined in commercial quantities for some time but are getting increasingly difficult to source. The rarest Garnets of all come from Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Ceylon and Brazil, but the quantities of these scarcest of treasures coming from the earth are unfortunately small. Although synthetic Garnets do exist, here at Gemporia we will only bring you genuine Garnet from the earth and we rarely treat our Garnet.

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MEANING

It is thought that Garnet gets its name from the Latin word ‘granatus’, as a red Garnet resembles the seed of a pomegranate. Garnets have been used as a gemstone for millennia. The oldest example found in jewellery was found on an Egyptian mummy, dating back as far as 3500BC.

Garnet is also a gemstone steeped in folklore. In many tales, Garnet is said to be able to glow within and light up a dark night. It was said that Noah illuminated the ark with a Garnet. Garnet has also long been associated with love and passion. In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, tricked Persephone into eating a pomegranate seed, as anyone who tasted the food of Hades had to stay with him in the underworld. Eventually, Persephone and Hades fell in love. This story is said to be the link between Garnet, the pomegranate gem and its association with love.

"Although steeped in history, Garnet was often an underappreciated gem. Its fortunes have recently reversed, seeing a boom in popularity. Loved by designers for its durability as well as its array of rare and beautiful varieties, Garnet is now receiving a lot of attention, creating a huge demand in the market, pushing prices up."

CHARACTERISTICS

Unusually, this family of around thirty different gems are linked by their crystal structure, but differ in their chemical composition. This means that the refractive index and hardness of each member of the family can differ. There are six Garnet species in total – Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine, Andradite, Grossular and Uvarovite. These species have many sub varieties, each with their own characteristics.

There is an amazing array of varieties of Garnet to choose from, from the rich reds of Pyrope Garnet, to the vibrant oranges of Spessartine Garnet or the immense rarity of vibrant green Tsavorite Garnet, or the spectacularly dispersive Demantoid Garnet. With such a diverse gemstone, there is truly something to captive everyone.

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