Garnet hardness on Mohs scale is approximately 7- 7.5  - well suited for use in jewelry. Most garnets are clear from inclusions. Due to their relative hardness and clarity most garnets are well suited to be faceted.

The name ‘garnet’ comes from the Latin granatus, meaning “the pomegranate” - an ancient fruit whose seeds resemble the crystals of the most common variety of garnet - the pyrope. For centuries garnet necklaces were worn by pharaohs of Egypt, a popular sarcophagus-stuffer for the afterlife. The term carbuncle was often used in ancient times to describe to red garnets. Carbuncle was thought to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God.


Origins and types


Garnet  - exhibits a different color depending on the light source is a hybrid of the Pyrope and Spessartite that displays 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.

  • Demantoid - Olive-green to emerald-green gem variety of Andradite Garnet.

  • Gooseberry Garnet - Light green to light greenish-brown variety of Grossular Garnet.

  • Hessonite - Orange to orange-brown, transparent variety of Grossular Garnet.

  • Imperial Garnet - Light pink, transparent gem variety of Grossular Garnet.

  • Leuco-garnet - Colorless, transparent variety of Grossular Garnet.

  • Malaya Garnet - Reddish-orange 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. On occasion the term is used as a synonym for Spessartite.

  • Mali Garnet - 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.

  • Mandarin Garnet - Bright orange to orange-red Spessartite Garnet, usually originating from the African countries of Namibia and Mozambique.

  • Melanite - Lustrous, opaque black or very dark red variety of Andradite Garnet.

  • Mint Garnet - Grossular Garnet with a light-mint-green color.

  • Mozambique Garnet - 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 Garnet - Raspberry-red variety of Grossular Garnet.

  • Rhodolite - 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.

  • Star Garnet - Form of Almandine Garnet that exhibits asterism in the form of a four-rayed star.

  • Tangerine Garnet - Light orange to orange-yellow Spessartine Garnet, usually from Namibia and Mozambique.

  • Topazolite - Yellow to brownish-yellow variety of Andradite Garnet.

  • Tsavorite - Green to emerald-green transparent variety of Grossular Garnet from Africa.


  • Almandine (dark red to violet red)

  • Andradite (colorless to black)

  • Demantoid (emerald green)

  • Grossular (white, yellow, yellow green, brownish-red, orange or black)

  • Hessonite (orange to brown)

  • Pyrope (blood red)

  • Rhodolite (rose red or pale pink/violet)

  • Spessartite/spessartine (orange to reddish-brown)

  • Uvarovite (bright green)

Rare varieties of the garnets include demantoids with their famous “horsetail” inclusions. They rival fire of green diamonds resulting from their high dispersion.

Another highly prized variety is a spessartite - Mandarin garnet, naturally occurring in a vivid orange color due to manganese in its composition. The rarest garnet variety is uvarovite. It is so rare you cannot even buy it.

Tsavorite - a rich green variety of grossular is extremely popular and commands high prices. Garnet is a birthstone for the Month of January. Garnet is a 2nd Anniversary gemstone.

Healing properties (not guaranteed by Leon Mege):

Garnet represents love and commitment.  It is said to revitalise the  feelings and enhances relationships by bringing warmth, devotion, understanding, trust, sincerity and honesty.  Said to control anger, although never scientifically tested.


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