One Of Jewelry's Most Misunderstood Gemstones - The Garnet

When most people think of garnet gemstones, they think of the deep red color that is most common in garnets. However, many people don't know that garnet comes in a wide range of colors including green, purplish red, orange, pink, and every other color! In fact, garnets can occasionally even display color-changing properties! Different color varieties have different rarities and therefore garnets come in a wide variety of value and price. Garnet displays incredible brilliance and dispersion that meets and even exceeds diamond in some cases. It is an incredibly beautiful and underrated gemstone!

The garnet below is a 2.74ct pink Mahenge Malaya garnet. This stone displays gorgeous brilliance and color-shifting.

"Wine" 2.36ct Oval Mahenge Malay Garnet Stone

We have worked with many different types of garnet including (but not limited to):

  • Mahenge Malaya garnet (peach-pink)
  • Demantoid garnet (green)
  • Mozambique garnet (deep red)
  • Rhodolite garnet (rosy red)

This photo shows the color difference between a Mozambique garnet and rhodolite garnet.

Mozambique Vs. Rhodolite Garnet Color Difference

We especially enjoy working with demantoid garnet. Demantoid garnet is one of the rarest garnet varieties (and one of the rarest colored gemstones) and comes in stunning green shades that rival emerald and peridot. Demantoid garnet has very high brilliance and dispersion with more fire than diamond! In fact, the name demantoid translates to "diamond-like" (demant is German for "diamond"). It is a highly respected and sought after stone among jewelry enthusiasts and mineral collectors alike and we are honored to be able to offer it to you!

This "Jane" design engagement ring features a round green demantoid garnet center stone.

Green Demantoid Garnet Engagement Ring

Garnet Formation & Sourcing

Garnet is typically created in metamorphic rocks rich in aluminum and is formed by heat and pressure. While all garnet types have similar crystal structures, different types of garnet have different chemical compositions. The presence of different amounts of elements like iron (red, black, brown, yellow), manganese (pink), chromium (purple), and vanadium (yellow-green) is responsible for the wide variety of colors that can be seen in garnets. Different regions of the world supply different color variations of garnet due to the unequal dispersion of these specific elements in the Earth's crust. 

Garnets can be found all over the world! Like mentioned above, specific varieties of garnets are found in specific regions. Here are some of the main garnet sources today:

  • Demantoid garnets hail mostly from Russia and Madagascar
  • Mozambique garnet hails from - you guessed it! - Mozambique, Africa
  • Rhodolite garnet can be found in the United States, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, etc.
  • Tsavorite garnet is found in Kenya and Tanzania
  • More common red garnet varieties, most commonly almandine garnets, are found on nearly every continent in the world

Our "North Star" design in 14K white gold with an oval cut Mozambique garnet and diamond accents.

"North Star" Garnet Engagement Ring

 There are several ways to mine garnet including:

  • Surface mining
  • Open-pit mining
  • Mining alluvial deposits

It is worth noting that while we often offer lab-grown versions of several other gemstones, garnet is not typically lab-grown due to its sheer abundance in nature and cost-effective price. 

Here at Staghead Designs, we are lucky to work with a fantastic company called Prosperity Earth that uses ethical and sustainable mining practices including small-scale mechanized mining in their demantoid garnet mining in Madagascar. None of the demantoid garnets from Prosperity Earth have been chemically or heat treated, instead showcasing their natural unenhanced color.

 

     A Brief History of Garnet

    Garnet has been used in jewelry and talismans since ancient times by Ancient Romans, Egyptians, and even by peoples dating back to the Bronze Age! During these times, garnet was referred to as "carbuncle", a general term used to describe red gemstones, especially cabochons. Carbuncles were thought to be magical stones that granted protection from things like war, misfortune, nightmares, and the plague while also providing healing properties. The name "garnet" is thought to have originated in the 10th century from the Latin word granatus, meaning "seed," specifically for its similarity in appearance to pomegranate seeds.

    Below is our "Lucy In The Sky" design in 14K white gold with a round garnet, diamond accents, and red opal inlays.

    "Lucy In The Sky" Garnet Engagement Ring

    While many people today have never heard of demantoid garnet, it was especially popular among the nobility in Russia throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It was once believed that the Ural Mountains of Russia were the only source of demantoid garnets and therefore the rare gems commanded high prices. It was distributed to royals in Europe and can be seen in examples of high-end Victorian jewelry. Demantoid mining in Russia ended with the Russian Revolution and demantoids nearly depleted on the jewelry market. Luckily today, demantoid mining in Russia has resumed and other sources of demantoid garnets have been found so the gem is making its way back into the market. Still, it remains a very rare and sought-after gemstone with rising popularity.

    Today, garnets are used for industrial abrasive purposes and even in some sandpaper products. Small red grains of garnet can be seen while walking beaches, used to filter water, and can also be found within granites commonly used in countertops and other granite products. In addition, it is used in metaphysical healing and is collected by crystal enthusiasts all over the world! Finally, garnet is January's designated birthstone as well as the gem of the second anniversary. 

    Our "Aura" diamond halo ring with garnet is a perfect birthstone ring for any January baby.

    January Birthstone Garnet Ring

     

    Care & Cleaning of Garnet Jewelry

    Different types of garnet rank differently on the Mohs Hardness Scale, anywhere between 6.5-7.5 (fair-good). Demantoid ranks on the lower end of this scale whereas Mozambique garnet scores high; therefore, demantoid will require a bit more care in order to avoid scratching.  

    To clean garnet jewelry use warm soapy (mild soap) water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic is typically safe for garnet but caution should always be used with ultrasonic cleaners. It is not recommended to use steam cleaners for garnet jewelry as garnet can be sensitive to extreme heat.

    To avoid scratching, damaged prongs, or other general ring damage, always remove garnet or any other jewelry before:

    • Any/all manual labor (including sports, going to the gym, gripping items with force such as bicycle handlebars, luggage, etc.)
    • While doing household chores including washing dishes, laundry, and cleaning
    • Contact with chemicals (such as chlorine and household bleach), extreme temperatures, perfumes, cosmetics, and other substances which may cause damage to your one-of-a-kind ring

    Store garnet jewelry away from other jewelry that could scratch the stone or metal. Any stones/minerals that ranker higher than 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale could cause scratching.

    This is not an exhaustive list of activities that could pose a risk to your ring. Always treat your jewelry gently and with care.

    Visit our Care Guidelines page to read more about our care suggestions and policies. 

    Designing a Custom Ring With Garnet

    Whether you are searching for a birthstone ring, anniversary gift, or a garnet ring for any other special occasion, we've got you covered! We work with garnet in both masculine and feminine designs. Because garnet comes in such a wide variety of cuts and sizes it can be used in many of our custom ring designs. In addition, because we offer several different types of garnet with varying rarities, we are able to provide stone options to fit many budgets. Choose a design you like from our collections of custom handcrafted rings or start from scratch and design your own personalized ring! 

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published