In case you didn’t know, there are different types of garnets in existence. Now you know!
In this guide, I’ll explain some of the most common varieties of garnet. Well also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about them including:
- What distinguishes gem varieties from gem species?
- Are green garnets available in different variations?
- Is there garnet that is colorless?
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Types of Garnet
What is Garnet?
Garnet has purplish red and orange red hues and is thought to be the birthstone for those born in January. However, there’s much more to garnet beyond that which is apparent. Since they’re not gemstone varieties like sapphires and emeralds, garnets are one of the most distinctive colored gemstones in the jewelry industry.
Gemstone Varieties vs. Gem Species vs. Gem Groups
Along with gem family and gem group, the word gem species is equally interchangeable. Mineral species also include gem species. A gem species should adhere to a specific crystal chemical composition and structure.
In addition, a gem species can contain one type of gem or may have different blends. For instance, the garnet group is made up of five different garnet gemstone species including uvarovite, almandine garnets, andradite garnets, spessartine garnet and grossular garnet.
There are other additional gem garnets available on the market in different colors within every species known as garnet varieties. For instance, almandine garnets are the red garnet gem species that you’re likely to find in most jewelry stores.
Rhodolites garnet, on the other hand, are a pyrope and almandine garnet blend that makes them different garnet varieties as compared to the typical pyrope garnet and almandine garnet.
Types of Garnet Species
Pyrope garnet is also known as Bohemian garnet. The name was derived from one of its oldest sources which is currently part of the Czech Republic. The word pyrope on its own was crafted from the word fiery eyed in Greek.
For this reason, most pyrope garnet hues are fiery ranging from purplish red to intense reddish orange. High-quality pyrope is usually vivid blood red hue.
Almandine and pyrope garnet gemstones are often mistaken for each other since they almost look similar. However, they’re quite different. Getting hold of larger pyrope garnet crystals is an uphill task but almandine garnets are quite popular.
Both the Romans and Greeks loved pyrope garnet especially during the Victorian jewelry era. Currently, finding pyrope garnets is a lot harder even though it was popular at that time. You can find pyrope garnets in different countries including South Africa and the United States of America.
One of the most popular garnet species in the garnet group of minerals is almandine. These red crystals are common within the earth and in the jewelry industry alike. The red garnet comes in different colors ranging from purplish red to orange red.
Almandine garnets have been used in the jewelry industry since time immemorial. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Asians valued the gemstone and fastened the stones into garnet beads and cabochons. The name almandine came from Alabanda, an ancient town in Asia.
However, you can also find almandine garnets in other countries including Brazil, United States, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Madagascar.
Grossular garnets come in a range of colors and the colorless variety is no exception. However, these gemstones are not available in blue. Surprisingly, red garnet stones are rare.
Most people are not conversant with a variety of garnet gemstones from the grossular family like californite, rosolite and topazolite. However, you might probably be familiar with Mint and Merelani garnet gemstones.
You can find grossular garnets in different countries including Canada, United States, Sri Lanka and Kenya.
Uvarovite garnets are green garnet gemstones that you can barely find in faceted forms. For the most part, these stones are usually small, presenting intense green druzy minerals on the matrix.
Andradite Garnet Gemstones
Spessartine garnets are also known as spessartite garnet. The name spessartine is derived from Spessart, a place in Germany. It was a primary source for some of these beautiful orange colored garnet gemstones.
These intense orange gemstones with medium shades are the best. However, spessartine garnets can also be reddish orange, dark yellowish orange or light orange. Pure orange garnet gemstones are sold under Mandarin garnet, its trade name.
Typically, spessartine garnet gemstones are more valuable and costly as compared to red garnets, almandine and Luke pyrope. You can find spessartine garnets in the following countries – Namibia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Brazil.
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Different Types of Garnet Gemstone Varieties
Hessonite garnets are usually recognized as the most prominent orange garnet variety. This kind of garnet called grossular. The color spectrum of hessonite garnets includes brownish orange red tones as well as occasionally orangey yellow browns. Because of their warm colors that resemble cinnamon, these garnets are also known as the cinnamon stone.
You can find hessonite garnets in different countries including Sri Lanka, Madagascar, United States, Mexico, Canada, and Tanzania.
Dermantoid garnet gemstones are green species of garnets with andradite garnet. These green crystals were quite popular especially in the Renaissance era. Tiffany & Co. was the first company to market dermantoid garnets after they were discovered in Ural Mountain in Russia.
The term dermantoid is a Dutch word that means diamond-like. This is owing to the fact that the fire and dispersion of the crystals are relatively higher than that of diamonds. Although dermantoid garnets range between yellow green and green tones, the rainbow effect is stunning and equally noticeable in light green dermantoid garnet gemstones.
Most garnet gemstones usually have eye-clean clarity but it’s quite the opposite for dermantoid garnets. Unlike typical gemstone inclusions, these crystals have some horsetail inclusions. Plus, they’re wisy, gold inclusions that almost resemble horse hair at radial points within the gemstone.
Dermantoid garnet gemstones were popular during the Victorian era. However, they’re hard to come by now. Russia was the primary original source but was depleted and produces a few of them annually.
The jewelry industry is still hopeful that this garnet variety will gain traction over the years since they found a new source in Namibia. Save for Russia and Namibia, dermantoid garnets are also found in Zaire.
Malaya garnet gemstones are also referred to as malaia garnets. They’re the most recent of discoveries when it comes to different types of gem garnet varieties. These pinky orange colored garnet crystals were discovered alongside rhodolite garnets in 1960.
Malaya garnets are a combination of spessartine and pyrope garnet species. Initially, consumers were not entirely receptive of this mineral that’s why it was translated from a Swahili phrase “out of the family”.
In 1980s, Malaya garnets gained traction in the jewelry industry that’s why people started buying them. Currently, you can find Malaya garnet gemstones in different places including Tanzania and Kenya. Plus, these crystals fall on the higher side of the spectrum as compared to other garnet varieties.
Mali garnet stones are olive green garnet varieties that are a blend of andradite and grossular garnet. They are only found in Mali. Although olive green is a desirable color, mali garnet gemstones can be green, yellowish green with a brown tint or close to tsavorite garnet’s green.
Rainbow garnet stones are a variety of andradite garnets albeit rare. This nifty stone almost resembles labradorite gemstones in terms of appearance. The appearance of rainbow garnet is as a result of different garnet layers in the structure.
Gemologists describe the appearance of rainbow garnet as iridescent garnet. Only grossular garnet/andradite garnet blends and andradite garnet produce iridescence. You can find rainbow garnets in a few countries including but not limited to Nevada, Japan, Mexico, and Sonora.
Most people are conversant with green garnet since it’s a viable alternative to green emerald gemstones. Tiffany & Co. were the first to sell Tsavorite garnets after their inception into the market. What’s more, tsavorite garnets are grossular garnet varieties.
The tints of this green grossular garnet variety span from bright green to greenish yellow hues, and the color is dependably a vivid green. Tsavorite garnet is also available in light green or dark green. The deeper green stones are more akin to the vivid emerald green hues.
Because they only come from two countries, Kenya and Tanzania, tsavorite garnets are more expensive and rarer than other types of green garnet. Seldom do these green grossular garnets exceed 3 carats in weight.
AVAILABLE ON BLUENILE
Leuco garnet gemstones are also known as colorless garnet. However, very few people are familiar with this garnet variety. Most people rarely consider the colorless version of garnets since they often associate it with red hues.
Leuco garnets are not popular, mostly because customers prefer garnets with vibrant hues at relatively competitive prices. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not garnets —a specific form of grossular garnets.
You can find colorless garnets in different countries including Tanzania, Myanmar, Canada, and Mexico.
Rhodolite garnet gemstones feature a purplish red hue that is a vivid color. They’re the most preferred garnet variety owing to their popularity.
For the most part, rhodolite garnets are usually intense red purple hues but can be purplish red as well. You can find rhodolite garnets in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
AVAILABLE ON BRILLIANTEARTH
It’s quite apparent that garnet stones are a diverse group of gemstone varieties that go beyond the typical reddish-orange birthstone for those born in January. However, some garnet hues are less common albeit fairly accessible alternatives to obtain stunning colored stones.
Garnet gemstones are usually subjected to different kinds of treatments to make them more attractive since the color is entirely natural.
With all the variations and blends, garnets can be quite difficult to understand. However, once things are separated and taken down, you’ll notice that every garnet variation has something unique to offer.