Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January, which makes it the perfect gemstone to ring in the New Year. You probably associate garnet with a deep red color, and you’re not wrong! But did you know garnet comes in almost every color of the rainbow? While deep red garnets are the most popular color of this gemstone, they are also available in various shades and hues of greens, purples, oranges, and yellows. If you’re looking for a symbolic New Year’s gift, or are shopping for a January baby, you can’t go wrong with garnet jewelry.
Garnet is not a single mineral. The term garnet actually refers to a family of closely related minerals. Every type of garnet shares a common crystal structure, but varies in their chemical composition. Thus, the creation of the many different colors of the January birthstone! This gives January babies, and other garnet admirers, the opportunity to showcase their individuality with a gemstone that offers plenty of color variety. Now, let’s take a closer look at the six main types of garnet so you can decide which color is your favorite.
- Almandine- the most common form of garnet. Naturally dark in color, almandine forms dark red to reddish-brown garnet gemstones. With a ranking of 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, almandine is the most durable form of garnet and is used in all forms of jewelry, especially rings, earrings, and pendants.
- Pyrope- the most popular form of garnet. If you picture a deep red color when thinking about garnet, you’re actually picturing pyrope. Its rich, blood red color is distinctive and attractive. Pyrope gemstones are often very clean and free of inclusions, making them great center stones for rings, earrings, and pendants.
- Spessartite- an orange to orange-red form of garnet. The most common colors of spessartite are red, orange, yellow, pink, and brown. The most desirable color is a fiery-red with orange tints. Spessartite is the most brilliant form of garnet due to its high refractive index.
- Grossular- the most varicolored form of garnet. Pure grossular is colorless. However, the wide range of colors is caused by chemical impurities, which creates white, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, and gray gemstones. The most popular form of grossular is called tsavorite. Tsavorite is one of the most valuable types of garnet. Its rich green color is comparable to the brilliant green of emeralds.
- Andradite-the most lustrous form of garnet. These shining gemstones can be found in red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, gray, and black. The most popular colors are green and black, which are referred to as demantoid and melanite, respectively.
- Uvarovite- the rarest form of garnet. Uvarovite is a less common form of garnet because it occurs in very small crystals that are typically too small for faceting. If large enough crystals of this deep chrome-green gemstone are able to be faceted, they are usually polished together in drusy form (composition of small, pointed crystals) as pendants and rings.
Caring for Garnet
No matter the type or color, you should always take special care of garnet jewelry. All forms of garnet are fairly durable gemstones, ranging from 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Nevertheless, garnets should not be subjected to rough wearing or hard blows. Unlike many other gemstones, garnet is not affected by exposure to light. While ultrasonic cleaners can be used to clean garnets, the recommended cleaning method is using warm, soapy water.
Garnet jewelry in Leo Hamel’s luxurious jewelry store
What’s your favorite color of garnet? Whether it’s the rich, vibrant red of pyrope or the brilliant green of tsavorite, our jewelry store on San Diego Avenue has a bountiful and beautiful collection of garnet jewelry, both new and vintage. Come visit us to find the perfect gift for your January-born loved one. Or come find a beautiful garnet to add to your collection and ring in the New Year with style.