Posted on by Nevil Agrawal

Often compared to ruby, the garnet stone is one of the foremost gemstones discovered by man. Its history goes back more than 5000 years, and it was first discovered along with the artifacts of Ancient Egypt and Sumeria. It is known that the ancient Greeks and Romans traded with the Eastern Empires for red garnets, which are believed to have been mined in India and Sri Lanka a long time before the birth of Christ. The garnet stone has a rich history and is even mentioned in the holy book of the Jewish people, the Talmud, in which a large red garnet was the sole source of light on Noah's ark.

The name garnet was first used by philosopher Albertus Magnus in 1270. Since garnet is found in the form of single crystals embedded in rocks and looks like the seeds of pomegranate fruit, he described this mineral as granatus, which means seed or grain. Garnet has many varieties and many different chemical formulas; hence it can also be formed in various ways. In general, garnet stones are formed when sedimentary rock is put under immense pressure and high temperatures. This usually occurs when two continental plates converge together. The sedimentary rock is melted by the high amounts of heat and pressure, and as it cools, it crystallizes in cracks and gaps in the metamorphic rock surroundings. Since garnet is a very hard material, over time, the surrounding rock can wear away, and the garnets can be washed down into streams where alluvial miners can find them.

A nice deep red color is usually associated with garnets, but garnet stones come in a wide variety of colors because it is a silicate material, and when it gets mixed with other chemical impurities, crystals occur in different colors.  This buying guide will tell you everything you need to know about garnet and how to identify a real one.

What is garnet?


Garnet is an elegant stone with many varieties and species that come in a plethora of colors, such as red, orange, yellow, and green.  Color variations in gemstones are generally caused by impurities within the host crystal, it is the same with garnets except with such a mixture of chemical ingredients, deciding which mineral causes what color can sometimes be tricky. Sometimes, garnets may not even get their color from impurities but from their basic chemical formula, which is a part of the physical structure of the stone and not an added impurity.


Where is garnet found?


The mineral garnet, in its base form, is found all over the world and is quite common. This base form is used in various industries as an abrasive material for sandpaper or as a filter. However, gemstone quality garnet is not as easy to come by. Australia, the US, India, and China  are the top producers of garnet.

There are umpteen species and types of garnet, and they are mined in different parts of the world. Precious Demantoid has been found in Russia and Namibia, Tsavorite is mined in Kenya and Tanzania, while pinkish-red rhodolite is found in India and Sri Lanka, and mandarin garnets in Namibia. 

Similar and Related Variants of Garnet


Due to the large number of varieties of garnet that have been found, it has been broken down into different types or species. Here, we will only discuss the types that can be used as valuable gemstones. Other applications of garnet include sandpaper, filters, waterjet cutting, and blasting, among many other industrial uses. The six widely accepted species of garnet are –

  1. Almandine – This is the most common form of garnet and is generally dark red to reddish-brown in color. It is also the hardest form of garnet and is cut for use in many styles of jewelry when it is clear enough.
  2. Pyrope – It is the most reputed variant of garnet, it’s the deep red variety, which is often compared to rubies and of the highest value.
  3. Spessartite – This variant of garnet is a clear, bright orange color with a stunning brilliance that makes it a gemstone sought after by many jewelers.
  4. Grossular – Although it is colorless in its purest state, the rare green Tsavorite, which is given its color due to impurities, is one of the most valuable garnets available. Grossular can also be found in shades ranging from yellow to reddish-orange.
  5. Andradite – Often described as the most lustrous of the garnets, this variant comes in many colors, most famously green and black. The term Andradite is not used that often to describe gems; it is usually further divided into groups or types, including the highly prized Demantoid garnets.
  6. Uvarovite – This unique green variant of garnet usually appears in small crystals. 

The Four C’s of Garnet


  • Color: When buying garnets, the color of the gemstone is an important pricing factor. The stunning blue garnets, vivid red, and burgundy garnets tend to be the most expensive ones due to their brilliant colors. Even rarer deep green garnets are even more valued, but other varieties, like reddish-brown, orange, or brown, are relatively pocket friendly.
  • Clarity: Apart from the wide range of colors this stone displays, most garnets show very good clarity due to the lack of inclusions. This holds true for the deep red varieties like pyrope, almandine, and rhodolite. The orange garnet jewelry is known to have a lower clarity. Sometimes, these inclusions can create a phenomenon called asterism (the star effect) that makes the gemstone look gorgeous.
  • Cut: When buying garnet jewelry, the cut is an important factor. Usually, stones are cut in a manner that maximizes light refraction and, as a result, enhances the brilliance of the stone. However, while buying rare garnet, like the green garnet, the stone is cut to help retain its carat weight.
  • Carat: Depending on the type, color, and quality of the stone and cut, the price of loose, faceted garnets varies greatly. The typical cost is around $20-$30/carat for faceted red garnets (pyrope, almandine, rhodolite), while Spessartite runs a bit higher than average stones ($40-$50/carat), and rarer specimens like a good mandarin garnet will cost well over $100/carat. The variety of garnet that sells for a higher price is the Russian demantoid garnet. Its price is usually well over $100/carat and can even be upward of $400/carat.

Treatment of Garnet


Garnets are natural and require no synthetic treatments. They are generally not treated by heat or any other means, and what you see is their natural unique and beautiful color.


How to take care of garnets?


Garnets have a moderate hardness of 6.5 ~ 7.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness.  This stone can be cleaned easily using 3-4 drops of liquid detergent in a bowl of water. The garnets should be brushed on their surface with a soft bristle brush or a cloth that is lint-free after being dropped in the detergent solution. After brushing, they should be taken out of the soapy water and kept under clear water. Later, wipe the gemstone free of any moisture using a dry lint-free soft cloth.  This usually does the trick while cleaning garnets, but for those that are not satisfied with simple domestic procedures, ultrasound treatments can be used to clean garnets. This, however, is not recommended for garnets treated with fracture filling as it can worsen any breakage in the stone. Alternatively, rubbing alcohol can be used to clean them since these stones are not porous, but it’s not as effective as cleaning with soap.

Never steam clean the garnets, the heat might cause garnet to fracture. Store your garnets separate from other jewelry as it may lead to scratches that look very unattractive. If you choose to store them with other stones, try separating and protecting them using cotton, plastic, velvet, or silk as barriers.  


Garnet Spiritual Meaning


Garnet gemstone is known as the gem of faith, and it is the January birthstone. It is associated with happiness and commitment and represents passion, true friendship, energy, faith, and truth.


Garnet Uses


  • Garnet is a splendid gemstone and used by jewelry-makers since ancient times for jewelry-making.
  • It is also used for industrial purposes, including waterjet cutting, sandblasting, sandpaper, and water filtration.

Facts and Mythology


  • The Tsavorite (green) garnet was named after the region it was found. It’s near the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Yellowish orange to bright orange spessartine garnet was named after Spessart, Germany.
  • Russia is a major source of the demantoid garnet.
  • Ancient Egyptians saw the garnet as a symbol of life, and Romans held them in high regard—using them as signet rings—during the 3rd and 4th centuries. In Victorian times, the royals adorned themselves with small garnets, forming large statement pieces.

Metaphysical and Healing Properties:


  • Garnet symbolizes good fortune and strength to those who wear it and is referred to as the “Gem of Faith.”
  • Garnets are believed to protect the wearer from nightmares, sustain positive relationships, and bring truth and peace to those who are present around the stone.
  • Garnet is called the stone of health because it is believed to have many benefits. For example, it is believed to act as a detoxifying agent and restore the body to its optimal strength.
  • Although all garnets are not red, they are still considered to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system by stabilizing blood pressure, regulating heartbeat, and increasing the blood flow.

Where should you buy garnet gemstones?


At GemsforJewels, we offer garnet gemstone of the highest quality in five different colors. These stones can be bought loose, as cabochons, connectors, rosary chains, and strands; there are so many varieties for you to choose from. We also boast a range of different shapes to pick from, including oval, heart, teardrop, rectangle, and 19 other appealing shapes. Garnet is an attractive and renowned gemstone known and loved all around the world.