Garnet, the birthstone for January, has been held in high esteem for over 5000 years and can actually be found in every color except blue. This hue diversity is due to combinations of trace amounts of unique elements within each particular gem, such as iron, chromium, manganese, etc. creating 9 types of stones in the “garnet group”.
We love garnet not only for the color range, but also because it’s a very bright and clean stone. This crispness comes from garnets being a singly refracted stone. Refraction is the change of direction and speed of light when entering a gemstone. Refraction is one of the components that create the effects resulting in the beauty of gemstones. Most gemstones are doubly refractive, meaning they have 2 refractive indices. Only a few gemstones have a single refractive index, specifically diamond, spinel and garnet.
A cool fact about garnets is that they were actually used in ancient Asia and the American Southwest as bullets in guns. The strong, deep red of the stone was said to cause wounds worse than bullets. Unfortunately, without being charged with some sort of felony, we can’t confirm this notion.
One of our favorite Garnet varieties is tsavorite. And why is it our favorite? Well, for one thing there is its vivid, radiant green. The color range of the tsavorite includes a spring-like light green, an intense blue-green and a deep forest green – colors which have a refreshing and invigorating effect on the senses. It is also valuable on account of its great brilliance. As we mentioned earlier with all garnets, it has a particularly high refractive index (1.734/44). Old legends say that a garnet was a difficult thing to hide, as its sparkling light was visible even through clothing. Here are some beautiful examples of tsavorite garnets.
Spessartite garnet is also a favorite because of its medium orange hues. We’re jazzed that Tangerine Tango is Pantone’s color of the year and spessartite garnet falls right into this color range! Check out this 22.45 carat oval spessartite. We’ll have a fresh, crisp supply of spessartite on display at the upcoming AGTA GemFair in Tucson. We know that anyone who’s in love with color will be fired up by the spectrum of garnets. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our inventory of gorgeous garnets!