Garnet is not a single mineral but actually a group of several closely related ones. The gemstones’ most widely known color is dark red but garnets are available in a variety of other colors. In addition to being found in many colors, garnets are fairly hard and durable gemstones that are ideal for jewelry use.
What Color is Garnet?
There are two main groups or families of garnet- aluminum silicates which include pyrope, almandite and spessartite, and calcium silicates which include uvarovite, grossularite and andradite though almost all garnets are mixed types. All species of garnets possess similar physical properties and crystal forms, but differ in chemical composition and therefore color. The infinite combinations make naming and differentiating the species difficult.
Almandine is perhaps the most common of the garnet family, and is the deep red to red-brown stone most often associated with garnet. Almandine is a garnet of iron and aluminum, whose color range produced by iron is reddish-brown to violet-red. It’s an inexpensive stone mainly sourced from Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka and can sometimes be found in large crystals suitable for sculptures.
Tsavorite is a grossular, and one of the most desirable due to its beautiful green color. Until it was discovered in the 1960’s there was no other stone but emerald that could offer such a rich, dark green color so it’s been in great demand ever since and is the most expensive. Bright, clear colors and few inclusions will command higher prices in any garnet, and the rarest and most valuable are tsavorite and demantoid with their green tones. Rhodolite in its red hues and spessartite in bright orange-red are also uncommon and considered valuable.
Is Garnet Good for an Engagement Ring?
Garnet has a hardness of 6.5 – 7.5 on Mohs scale, which is softer than gemstones like diamonds or sapphires, however with reasonable care, can be worn every day. While garnets are relatively hard, a protective setting such as a bezel is recommended to safeguard the stone. Garnets are never treated or enhanced because irradiation and heat treatments are not effective. Garnets come in their natural colors so what you see is what you get with these beautiful stones.
Beyond the well-known varieties that are deep red and green, garnet can be found in cinnamon to tangerine shades of orange, light yellows, deep purple, grass greens and soft lavender-pink. There are garnets that change color in different light, translucent green garnets that look like jade and garnets with stars. You might choose a garnet ring due to the sheer diversity of colors available or as a cost-effective alternative to ruby or emerald.
Tsavorite with a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and a vibrancy and color akin to emerald is one of the best garnets for an engagement ring. Tsavorite is actually harder than emerald, therefore more durable, is more brilliant when faceted, and also much rarer than emerald. Maybe because it lacks the magic and antiquity of the name “emerald”, it’s in much lower demand and therefore less expensive than emeralds of comparable color.
The garnet family is one of the most complex in the gem world with its wide variety of stunning colors. If you have questions about creating a unique, custom engagement ring, give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule your appointment!