Garnet – Your Complete Guide
The first known instances of garnet being used by a civilization are in ancient Egypt, where pharaohs and other noble dignitaries would wear jewellery adorned with garnet gemstones. The gemstone was also held in high regard in ancient Rome, where rulers wore large garnet signet rings, both as a symbol of power and for use in stamping wax seals on all prominently written communications. Beyond ancient Rome, garnet was also popular among aristocrats during the Middle Ages.
Besides their undeniable allure and beauty, all gemstones are believed to possess mystical qualities. Soldiers would often wear garnet infused charms onto the field of battle, as it was believed that garnet would help safeguard them from injury. Ancient medical practitioners also believed that the stone contained powerful healing properties, capable of repairing physical injuries and curing mental afflictions.
Facts about Garnet
- It’s the birthstone for January
- Its rich red colour and high affordability make it a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day
- Although found in a broad spectrum of colours, red is the most common
- Its mined in many countries throughout the world, with most of it being produced in India
- There are four primary varieties of the gemstone, including almandine, spessartine, grossularite, and pyrope; of each of these, spessartine is the most expensive
- Its hardness rating on the Mohs scale varies from 6.5 to 7.5, with almandine being the hardest
- Garnet stones with a hardness rating of 7 or more, are suitable for every jewellery pieces, such as engagement rings
- It’s said to bring good fortune to those who wear it
- Garnet jewellery relics date back as far as the Bronze Age (3000 BC – 1200 BC), a testament to its remarkable resilience
- It has many uses besides jewellery, with its strength and durability making it ideal for industrial purposes
Evaluating Garnet Gemstones
The quality of a garnet gem is determined by the 4 C’s; its clarity, colour, carat, and cut. While garnet is available in many different colours, red is the most sought after by jewellers. The most important property for a garnet stone, is clarity. Without perfect clarity, the gemstone will not possess a beautiful sparkle.
Clarity – when purchasing a red garnet jewellery piece, the gem should be free from any structural blemishes or impurities that are visible to the naked eye. Red garnet is famous for its intense radiance, particularly when exposed to delicate lighting conditions.
Colour – while available in a range of different colours, red is the colour that garnet is most identified with. Red garnets have the finest clarity and hardiness and are in high supply, making them very affordable. A superior quality garnet will feature a rich and vibrant red colour.
Carat – the high abundance of red garnet, even at larger carat sizes, makes it a great option for those seeking a larger but still very affordable gemstone.
Cut – garnet is a very versatile gemstone. Whether sculpted into a traditional shape or fashioned into a more bold and daring arrangement, it’s guaranteed to look marvellous.
How Best to Wear Garnet Jewellery
The most common red garnet colour, typically has a brown or orange tinge to it, making it a perfect complement to garments that possess fall season colours, such as orange, brown, grey, white and black. Garnet looks particularly breathtaking when set in either yellow, white or even rose gold, with each metal providing a distinct enhancement to the stone.
Looking After Your Garnet Jewellery
Garnet stones with a Mohs hardness of seven or greater, are strong enough to withstand the effects of most cleaning detergents, exposure to outdoor light for extended periods, as well as household dust, which is capable of tarnishing softer stones. Unlike most other gemstones, garnet should not be cleaned with water on a frequent basis. When polishing the stone, it’s important to use a dry, softly textured cloth that will minimise the risk of scratching. When cleaning, use warm soapy water and a toothbrush. Be sure to remove all traces of soap using a dry cloth.
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