HISTORY and LORE
- Counted among the treasures of Egypt more than 5,000 years ago, but history’s garnets were limited to shades of red. Today’s colors would amaze the Pharaohs.
- Many scholars trace the name to old French grenat meaning “red like a pomegranate”. Others say it comes from Latin granatus “grain-like,” referring to the appearance of small garnet crystals.
- Some garnet lore is linked to the color red, but most could apply to any color. Garnet traditionally symbolizes faith, truth, friendship, and loyalty. For centuries it was believed to dispel fear, soothe discord, ensure guidance, protect travelers, and inspire deep affection.
- All garnets are birthstones for January and Aquarius. They’re also gems for the 2nd wedding anniversary.
- Color: Many tones and intensities of red, purple, pink, orange, yellow and green.
- Clarity: Often lightly included. Minor clarity characteristics are accepted.
- Cut: Faceted in a wide assortment of shapes and styles. Some types are also fashioned into cabochons, fantasy cuts, and beads.
- Carat Weight: Most garnets are normally available in all jewelry sizes (up to 15 or 20 carats).
- Garnets are among the gems for which there are no established treatments.
- Garnets from a group of related minerals that have the same crystal structure, but slightly differing chemical compositions. Mineralogists count more than a dozen different species. In the gem trade, color is often one of the main criteria for identification. Among the most important garnet species and varieties are almandite, Malaya, rhodolite, spessartite, and tsavorite.
Garnets generally have good wearablility.
- Hardness: Moderate scratch resistance. Rates 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
- Toughness: Good to fair resistance to chipping and breaking (largely depending on the type and extent of clarity characteristics).
- Stability: No routine concerns for gem owners.
- Cleaning: Liquid cleaner, or detergent and water. Ultrasonic is usually safe, unless noticeable clarity characteristics are present.