MEANING: Garnet comes from the 14th century word ‘gernet’ meaning dark red and possibly derived from the latin ‘pomum granatum’; pomegranate.
COMMON SPECIES: Pyrope (red), Almandine (dark red), Rhodolite (rose red/violet), Spessartine (orange/red), Hessonite (orange brown), Tsavorite (green) and Demantoid (green).
COLOUR: Usually red but can be all colours.
MOHS HARDNESS: 6.5-7.5
OPTICAL PROPERTIES: Single refractive
HISTORY IN JEWELLERY: Garnet beads have been found in graves dating from 3000BC.
TREATMENTS AND ENHANCEMENTS: Garnet gemstones are not enhanced and their colours are always natural.
LEGENDS: In medieval times garnet was thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams and relieve diseases of the liver.
GIFTING: In Greek mythology a pomegranate is a gift of love as associated with eternity. Nowadays, garnet remains a gift of love. Symbolically garnet is given to a separated love to ensure a speedy return and often gifted before a loved one embarks on a trip.
ASSOCIATIONS: Birthstone for January. Often gifted for the 2nd, 6th or 19th wedding anniversary. It’s the state mineral for Connecticut and the state gemstone for Idaho.
SIMILAR GEMSTONES: Dark red spinel and rubellite tourmaline can be confused with almandine and pyrope garnets. Generally ruby is a lighter red colour.
CARING FOR GARNET: Clean with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic treatment is fine for all varieties other than demantoid. Not suitable for steam cleaning. Protect from sharp blows, harsh temperatures and chemicals.