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Gemstones Facts


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January Birthstone

GarnetGarnet birthstone

Mohs scale hardness: 6-7.5

Those born in the month of January then garnet is the birthstone for you and garnet is also the traditional anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage. All garnet contains keizelzuur. The chemistry composition of garnets is as complex as tourmaline. Garnets are relatively hard and highly reflective, though some varieties of garnet are more brittle than others.

The formation of garnets always takes place in metamorphic rock. The metamorphic rock is either an igneous or sedimentary rock which has been metamorphosized or changed by some force. The most common forces are pressure, heat or some combination of both. Conditions might form garnets inside the metamorphic stones as the rocks change. As the result, the stone is commonly found in stones like gneiss and schist. All garnets crystallize in the isometric crystal system (means that equality in dimension, such as a cube, octahedron or dedocahedron).

Colors of Garnet

Garnets occur in all colors but blue and usually garnets have bright colors. Many people including experts often mistaken garnet as ruby as both color looked alike and in fact they are completely different. The colors of garnet includes red, purple, brown, green, blue, orange, yellow, colorless and even black.

Blue garnet (rarest color) is said once discovered in Bekily (Madagascar) in the late 1990s. It changes color from bluish green in the daylight to purple color in incandescent light, as a result of relatively high amuonts of vanadium (about 1 wt.% V2O3). There are also other varieties of color-changing garnets. In daylight, the color ranges from shades of blue, gray, brown, beige and green, but in incandescent light the color appear to be purplish/pink or reddish color. Because of the color changing quality of the stones, these kind of garnets are often mistaken for alexandrite. The light transmission properties of garnet can range from the gemstone-quality transparen specimens to the opaque varieties used for industrial purposes. Garnet mineral’s luster is categorized as resinous (amber-like) or vitreous (glass-like).

Those with classic “horsetail” inclusions are some of the most sought-after gemstones. These inclusions are small needle-like marks inside the gemstone.

Tsavorite is a vivid green grossular garnet. Red garnets come in several different shades, including a blackish-red, known as pyrope garnet, and a brownish-red called almandine. The most desireable of the red shades is that of rhodolite garnet, a vibrant, cranberry color with an affordability that belies its beauty and brilliance. The term “rhodolite” was first used in 1898, and came from the similarity of the garnet’s color to the rhododendron flower. Superior garnets are usually faceted, while the less valuable ones are often polished into beads.

All garnets are a variation on silica. Magnesium, iron, calcium, chromium and aluminum are present in various chemical compositons in the group of garnets. Garnets are found in Scotland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Myanmar (Burma) and United States (Arizona). Rock formations that are metamorphic or igneous are where these garnets form with alluvial deposits producing the highest quality gems as a rule.

Types of Garnets

There are six main garnet types used for gemstones: andradite, almandine, grossularite, pyrope, spessartine and uvarovite.

Almandine garnets are the most frequently and common used gemstone.

Andradite, this highly sought after garnet comes in three gem quality types: melanite, demantoid and topazolite. Demantoid, the most valuable of the garnets is rare. The demantoid rivals the diamond in its brilliance. Its green color is due to the chromium content. Carl Fabergé, the famed Russian jeweler used dematoids in many of his pieces.

Topazolite is seldom made into jewelry as it is rarely large enough to make faceting worthwhile. Melanite is no longer used in gemstone, although it was once used in mourning jewelry.

Glossular garnet is colorless when pure. They come in every color but blue, and red coloration also rarely occur in this variety.

Pyrope garnets, dark red in color and often free of inclusions. They are rarely cut into faceted peices of more than one carat in size.

Spessartine, a less well known and uncommon garnet, very few of this stone is in the type of quality to use as a gem althought cabochons may be cut from it.

Uvarovite is the rarest of the garnet family. Since it occurs only as small crystals, it is seldom used as a gem.

Perhaps because of the stone’s blood-red color, garnets have long been associated with heroes or warriors, both as protective and destructive elements. The crusaders used to decorated their armor with garnets as talismans to prevent harm. In latter-day Asia, garnets were sometimes used for bullets, in the belief that they would increase the severity of a wound.

Garnet Gemstone

Garnet Metaphysical Properties

It is believed garnets have special properties:

To clean garnets you can use warm soapy water and a soft brush, a sonic cleaner can be used for most garnets except for Andradite (Demantoid) garnets because they are softer than other garnets. Do not use a steamer.

Though garnets are a naturally occurring gemstone, in the 1970s scientists discovered a process for synthesizing garnets. Synthesized garnets can be found in an even larger variety of colors than the natural ones, including blue and color-changing varieties.

Asian origins: Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Astrologically, garnet is associated with the zodiac sign of Aquarius.
January birth flower: Carnation.




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