Getting to Know Garnet, Its Colors, Properties and Meanings
Garnet is a gemstone that is often associated with a deep red color. The price range of garnets in different colors depends on the rarity of the stones. Today, many red garnet gemstones are getting more affordable and even fashioned into various types of jewelry, from earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. The range of colors of garnet makes the gemstone suitable for exquisite and unique ring designs, such as the tree of life rings that symbolize the interconnectedness of everything in this world.
Red garnet, et al.
Garnet is not just one mineral. Rather, it belongs to a group of minerals that are closely related to one another. Keep in mind that while garnet is always identified by its red hue, it comes in various colors. You’ll be surprised to know that garnet has a broad palette, including orange, pinkish-orange, green, and purplish red.
Among its gem family, red garnet is the most common and widely found in metamorphic rocks. However, garnets in other colors are not that abundant, and some of them are pretty rare, such as blue or green garnets.
The crystal structure of all garnets is essentially the same. The difference is in their chemical composition. According to mineralogists, there are 20 garnet species or categories. However, only five are used commercially as gemstones. These are pyrope, andradite, almadine, grossular, and spessartine.
Almandine is the most common among the red garnets. Its color is deep red which leans more towards purple. However, it is usually opaque, and so only the rarer transparent dark red almandine minerals are used as gems.
Pyrope is known for its dark red color. It has good transparency and is free of flaws, making it a valuable gemstone for jewelry makers. It is even rarer than almandine. During their growth, the combination of pyrope and almandine creates the rhodolite garnet, which is valued for its raspberry or unique purplish-red color. Pure pyrope and almandine are challenging to find, which increases their value.
Andradite is one of the most lustrous among the various garnet species. However, the transparent forms are pretty rare and valuable. In the jewelry industry, gem-quality andradite stones are called melanite, topazolite, and demantoid. Melanite’s color is black, while demantoid, rare and expensive, comes in beautiful shades of light olive to a deeper green. Topazolite is rarer than demantoid. Its color ranges from yellow to golden yellow.
Spessartite garnet has orange to orange-red and reddish-brown colors. It is becoming increasingly popular, but gem-quality spessartite is still rare on the market. Spessartite belongs to a group of color change garnets. The name implies the gems can change color depending on the light source.
Grossular is the most varicolored form of garnet. Although it is usually dark in color, it is available in a range of other colors, from colorless to white, gray, yellow, yellow-green, various shades of green, pink, brown, orange, black, reddish, and orange-red.
If you want jewelry pieces in a wide range of colors, garnet can give you several options because of its exciting color palette. Moreover, garnet is more durable and not as expensive as other gemstones.