The Goods on Garnet - January's Birthstone
Let’s begin with what garnet is …
Garnet, though often presented as one gemstone, is actually a group of gemstones/ minerals that share similar crystal structures and chemical compositions. There are more than 20 minerals that are considered garnet, but only 5 are used in jewellery: pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular and andradite. Plus, not every type of garnet is the red colour we often associate with the gemstone, like the garnet in our Dragon Necklace (pictured below).
The red to purplish-red colour that is the most popular colour of garnet is found in pyrope and almandine garnets, but garnet can also be other colours.
Tsavourite garnets (a type of grossular garnet) and demantoid garnets (a type of andralite garnet) are green. Did you know that demantoid garnet reigns as the most valuable type of garnet.
Spessartine garnets are orange.
In fact, garnets range in colour from yellow to orange to red to purple to a lovely vibrant green, and they’re found all over the world.
One question we sometimes get asked is “Are garnet and ruby the same?”
The short answer is nope. Not at all.
This question might stem from an age-old confusion of red gemstones. Before the year 1800 ruby, red spinel and red garnet were all simply called ‘ruby’.
When in fact, ruby and sapphire belong to the corundum family of gemstones/ minerals, while garnets are silicate minerals in different mineral/ gemstone family.
Caring for Your Garnet Jewellery
Garnets are relatively stable minerals/ gemstones – meaning they don’t easily react to chemicals or sunlight. They are safe to wear in the shower, can be left in the sun without detriment, can get wet and many can be worn everyday.
However, they can be damaged by rough wear, sudden blows and sudden extreme temperature changes.
Garnets sit at 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs gemstone hardness scale – meaning that they’re more susceptible to damage from other gemstones. For this reason, it is a good idea to store your garnet jewellery separately.
The best way to clean garnet jewellery is with a soft brush and warm soapy water.