How to test Rubies: An Overview

Rubies are one of the rare and precious forms of gemstones, distinguished from the likes of emeralds and diamonds with its garish scarlet red colour. Meanwhile, market boasts of variety of ruby gemstone beads with primary hues ranging from yellow to blue to even purples! But nothing like the pale rose pink rubies that have ruled the hearts of Dukes and Emperors for centuries. 

How to tell if the ruby is real or fake? Here is what gem experts do to distinctly identify real rubies from the cheap imposters.

Primary Identification using Colour Consistency test 

What you see is what you get. Ruby is a blood red gemstone belonging to the family of corundum. The colour is present due to the chromium ions that inundate the crystal lattice largely containing aluminium oxide. If the colour is consistent with fine rutile impregnated in the crystal, it means the ruby is fine and untreated. If you miss out on the rutile, it means that the stone has been treated in heat to look finer and give a more consistent colour. A shade of imperfection is what makes rubies so attractive.

Test to find specific gravity 

Purest ruby corundum will bear a specific gravity of 3.98 with tolerance of 0.5% depending on the source of the stone. A special solution called “Clerici” is used to check the specific gravity of a ruby gem. Since the specific gravity of the dense fluid is 4.0, the rubies are supposed to float and displace the same weight of the fluid. 

Note: In market, rubies are available in the range between 3.95 and 4.05 specific gravity.

Test for Refractive Index

In terms of opacity, rubies can show transparency as well as translucency. The refractive index of a pure ruby is anywhere between 1.763 and 1.768 with dispersion measured under spectrometer coming at 0.018. Cheaper version of rubies and other gemstones have a much lower refractive index, often counted between 1.66 and 1.70. 

Double Refraction Test

Now we are taking serious science. Ruby gemstones do not boast of any particular line of cleavage. The fractures occur in conchoids or splintery manner. The hexagonal crystal structure of ruby and the internal fracture plane splits a single beam of light into two, leading to a phenomenon called Double Refraction. When observed under a polariscope, ruby exhibit birefringence or dispersion of 0.08.

Fluorescence Test

Rubies are exposed to florescent light and the refraction is checked with Chelsea Colour filter. Luminescence of rubies when florescent light is passed through them bears crimson or orange light. No other stone apart from ruby will give a red when exposed to florescent light. This is a key separation test between rubies and garnets.

Popularity of synthetic rubies

Use of synthetic rubies is not a taboo! They are imitation stones made by burning scarlet wool under the base. They were largely used to manufacture Ruby Lasers in the 60s. Red spinel, red tourmaline, Rubellite and Balas ruby are some of the names you should stay away as a buyer.

 

Top 8 World Famous Diamonds and their cuts

Diamonds are extraordinary gemstones. The most aspiring fact related to diamond is its origin and constituent- Carbon. Diamond is one of the rarer allotropes of elemental Carbon. Known to Indians for at least 6000 years, diamonds have always been an item to express pompous glory, love and magical companionship. 

Here is a list of world-famous diamonds, though lesser known to a regular gem buyer.

1 Akbar Shah

More popularly called as the Lustre of the Peacock Throne, Akbar Shah is a pear shaped light green diamond, now weighing 73.6 carat. Glorified by Mughal king, Shah Jehan, the diamond was lost in the trails of time when it was confiscated by Persian Emperor, Nadir Shah.  It returned back mysteriously in Turkey, with a new name- The Shepherd’s Stone. It was cut from 120 carats to its present weight by George Blogg and then purchased by Malhar Rao Gaekwad, ruler of Baroda.

2 Archduke Joseph 

A brilliant colourless diamond shaped in cushion form, Archduke Joseph now weighs 76.45 carat. Named after the Austrian duke, the diamond was mined from India’s Golconda wells. 

3 Argyle Pink Jubilee

The largest diamond to have ever been mined from Australia, Argyle Pink Jubilee actually has a flaw line that prevents its cutting into a shape. It weighs 8.01 carat.

4 The Black Orlov/The Eye of the Brahma

One of its kind, the Black Orlov is actually an item of massive importance to Hindus. It was stolen from the statue of Hindu god-Brahma, placed in a temple in Puducherry. The owner of the stone is ‘supposedly’ cursed and hence the 67.5 carat diamond is now displayed at NYC and London museums. 

5 Centenary Diamond

The love for big diamonds gets Centenary Diamond its ubiquitous positon in the list of world-famous collectibles. Discovered in 1986, the stone weighed a massive 599 carats. The gem now weighs 273.85 carats, with 247 facets. Its owner is unanimous, but continues to be displayed at major exhibitions. 

6 Darya-ye Noor

Weighing 182 carats, Darya-ye Noor actually means ‘Sea of Pure Light’. It is one of the largest and also the rarest diamonds to have ever been cut. It is a pink coloured gemstone was mined at the Kollur mines in India, and was owned by princely kingdoms of India till Nadir Shah looted it along with Koh-i-Noor and Akbar Shah.

Gemstone historians believe that the Darya-ye Noor and Noor-ul-Ain (both grace the Iranian Crown Jewels’ list) are actually cut out from the Great Table Diamond, once studded in the Peacock throne of Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan.

7 Graff Pink

Known to many as “one of the greatest diamonds ever discovered”, Graff Pink is a rare 24.78 carat gem boasting of an intense pink hue and priced at £29 million in its last auction.

8 Nassak/ Nassik Diamond

Now not many would believe that the Nassak is actually the same eye of the idol that lord Triamabkeswar adorned between 1500 and 1817. The pear shaped diamond now weighs 89 carat.

 

Adularescence Effect in Moonstones make them Priceless

Milky white gemstones with colourful sparkles symbolize the love for translucent dazzlers. Yes, glassy and clear gemstones like diamond, garnets, rubies, sapphires and emeralds remain the top eye-catchers. But there is a certain attraction that makes opals, moonstones and agate very popular. The optical phenomenon of adularescence is what renders these gemstones their enticing beauty.

What is an adularescent gemstone?

Crystals exhibiting the Schiller effect are called as adularescent stones, which is very similar to the labradorescence and adventurescence. Adularescent gemstones exude a milky and bluish glow originating from the diffused structure within the crystal. The schiller seems to move within the stone, and hence gives an effect of light source moving as well. Orange and blue lustres are commonly seen in the gemstones. 

Why adularescent? 

The name ‘adularescence’ is derived from the gemstone called Adularia. Adularia itself derives its name from the location where it was first discovered. Adularia is orthoclase potassium-enriched feldspar found in Adula Massif, Ticino (Tessin), Switzerland in 1780.

The degree of schiller effect in the gemstones other than Adularia is a highly varying and hence remains a scattered phenomenon. In non-Adularia gemstones, schiller effect appears along with ‘girasol effect’and opalescence. Some gem experts like to connect adularescence with indistinct bands of chatoyant effect. In other words, adularescent gemstones are likely to showcase cat’s eyes effects and asterism.

Adularescent Moonstones

Labradorescence and adularescence are related terms as afar as optical phenomena are concerned. Both of them are seen in moonstone Gemstone and Labradorite in equal intensity. The similarity arises due to their origin from feldspar. 

Moonstone has two feldspar minerals in it- orthoclase and albite. Adularescent moonstones exhibit intermingling of the minerals and result in a new ingrown stacked in alternate rows. The light scatters randomly between the thin lines and layers causing a blue sheen. When the moonstone gemstone beads are viewed in different angles, the misty light also rolls in action.

How to check for a real Moonstone

Moonstones are approved of their originality by checking three factors:

 

  • Background colour
  • Surface colour
  • Sheen orientation 

 

The adularescent gemstones are semi-transparent and colourless, with sheens bearing shades of blue, silver and rose. Rainbow moonstone show multiple colours like green, yellow and brown-grey. In terms of pricing, brighter the shade, higher will be the cost. High valued moonstones exhibit a 3-dimensional depth in blue shade. Blue moonstones necessarily command a higher price than milky and transparent adularescent gems.

How cut makes a difference?

Moonstonesare often shaped in the beads and balls, stranded in necklace and bracelets. The adularescent moonstone is cut in cabochon that multiplies the sheen and clarity of the colours. Oval moonstones cut in cabochon remain top collections, apart from the Fancy Cut and Point cuts with square base. 

For uniform adularescence effect, moonstones are never given a long flat base. They diminish the effect and also take away the sheen and clarity. In short, flat based moonstones are not as attractive and glittery as the cabochon ovals.

Star Gemstones: Asterism in its Enticing Glory

Mankind has always been drawn to the mystical skies shinning with uncountable number of stars. Since time immemorial, numerous artworks have been inspired by the stars and planets twinkling. And when someday, gemstones with starry dazzle were discovered, it meant owning the stars. Meanwhile not all gemstones known to man exhibit the starry dazzle and it is an exclusive phenomenon. But why is that? That’s because, it is an optical property based on the crystal structure.

What is the phenomenon called?

The property is called asterism. Asterism is an optical phenomenon that occurs sparingly in some gemstones. When the light beam passes through the crystal, it showcases star-shaped figure. In astronomy, asterism is defined as a pattern of stars. It is very different from what we know as a constellation. Asterism is a pattern of stars or constellations which may not be recognized in any form. 

Types of Asterism

There are two distinct types of asterism exhibited by the gemstones found naturally. They are:

Epi-asterism

Seen in sapphire gemstone and garnet beads, epi-asterism is caused due to the reflection of the light along the parallel planes formed from inclusions/ rutile within the gem crystal.

Di-asterism

Commonly seen in the Rose Quartz, the phenomenon is seen when the light source is behind the stone. The phenomenon is seen in crystals with milky and opaque appearance. 

In short, di-asterism in gemstone is caused by a transmitted light, while epi-asterism occurs due star formation from a reflected light beam. Diffused light sources don’t form star shapes in the gemstones.

Asterism in Sapphires

The first instance of gemstone asterism was discovered by the Greeks. The cuts necessarily enhance the phenomenon. For example, star sapphires cut in cabochon display six-rayed star pattern. Other stones that exhibit the property are rubies, topaz, chrysoberyl and moonstone. The presence of titanium oxide particles, called rutile, gives the gemstones their trademark asterism. 

Gemstones with asterism have always been linked to folklore and superstition. They were believed to ward off evils in the dark and keep the faith strong. Star Spinel, garnet, Diopside and sapphires were specifically cut to enhance the healing properties of the protective gemstones. 

Asterism in Quartz

Pink and red quartz exhibit asterism that occurs due to transmitted light. Citrines also reveal asterism when heated to a certain temperature. The heating dissolves the finely lined rutile particles an align them to form stars. Round cut quartz are known to showcase exciting play of star formation, with interesting planes. 

Asterism in Synthetic gemstones 

Synthetic corundum is aluminium oxide which is largely produced to replace diamonds in cutting and abrasive tools. The asterism is seen in corundum gemstones.

Commercial influence on Star gemstones

Asterism is a key commercial feature that makes the gemstone look rarer in the market. Star beryl and star spinel gemstones are anyways rare, which are complemented with immaculate cuts and shapes. Star gemstones too have to meet the 3 C’s parameter to qualify as precious item: Colour, clarity and Carat.

Paraiba Tourmaline: The Neon Gems from Amazonia

Tourmaline gemstones and Paraiba are now commercially accepted as synonymous with each other. Considered as an electrifying item for jewellery and fashion, tourmalines bearing this characteristic shade owe their origin to north-eastern parts of Brazil. Much later, the sizzling varieties in effervescent green-blue were mined from Mozambique and Nigeria. If you are planning to buy a Paraiba tourmaline, there are chances that you might get confused between the ones coming from Brazil and those mined from Africa.

How are they different? Does it really count if they are from different sources? How to tell the difference between the two?

In terms of physical differentiation, it is very hard to find the variation between the Paraiba tourmalines from Africa and Brazil. Even under the microscope, they are hard to be differentiated. 

So, how to differentiate? The only way gem labs can find the difference is by using quantitative chemical testing. Origin-wise, gem collectors rank Brazilian tourmalines higher than the ones mined from Africa. The African tourmalines have a reputation similar to what Burmese rubies enjoy in the gem lines. 

History of Paraiba

One of the recently discovered naturally-occurring gemstones, Paraiba tourmalines have a history dating back to 1980s, when Heitor Dimas Barbosa and his assistants dug out pegmatite deposits in the hilly areas of Paraiba in Brazil.

Why Paraiba gemstones are so popular?

The shady electrifying blue shade in the Paraiba tourmalines matches the beauty of blue sapphires. The blue colour appears due to the presence of copper oxides and hydroxides. Brazilian stones are darker in colour compared to their African counterparts by virtue of higher copper ions in the crystal structure. 

Paraiba tourmalines exhibit a variety of colours ranging from sky blue to aquamarine to psychedelic blue. Highest variation in colour shades is observed in Mozambique Paraiba tourmalines. 

World’s most famous Paraiba: 

The Guinness World Records rank stunning Ethereal Carolna Divine Paraiba as the world’s largest, flawlessly cut naturally occurring Paraiba tourmaline in the world.  It weighs 191.87 carats and is enlisted in the same bracket as Logan Sapphire, Hope Diamond, The Golden Jubilee and Alan Caplan Ruby. 

The Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba is an oval shaped tourmaline featuring Brilliant Cut, and is four times heavier than the second largest tourmaline ever mined. The stone now graces as a part in the necklace called Paraiba Star of Ocean. It entered the ranks in 2009 when the stone featured in the necklace designed by Canadian jewellery house- Kaufmann de Suisse. 

This tourmaline exhibits a radiating neon blue-green colour very distinct from the traditionally mined stones. It is best described as the blue of the tropical ocean. Even the necklace it is fit into has been inspired from the aqua flora and fauna. A compliment to the marine animals like turtles, shells crabs, star fish, rays and sea horses, Paraiba tourmaline is flanked by the likes of canary yellow diamonds, blue, orange sapphires, ruby, garnet, emeralds, blue topaz and Tsavorite. The 191.87 carat Carolina tourmaline easily exceeds the size of all other gemstones.

World’s Largest and Most Famous Gems Cut by Hands

The Agra

The story of Agra Diamond starts in the year 1526 when Babur conquered India and adorned the majestic gemstone in his turban. Like a royal treasure, the Agra Diamond was passed to his successors including the greats Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Persian king Nadir Shah plundered the city of Agra and took away almost every single gemstone from the royal treasury which included The Great Table Diamond and Koh-i-Noor.

The Agra is a light pink diamond made it to the collection of Duke of Brunswick, Charles after whom the Brunswick Blue Diamond is named. Today, the diamond is priced at £12,900,000 and weighs 28.15 carats, cut in a modified cushion shape with a sparkling brilliant.

The Ahmadabad

Ahmadabad diamond was first mentioned by French gem collector Jean Baptiste Tavernier who bought it at Ahmadabad, a city in Western India, 550 kilometres north of Mumbai. It weighed 157.5 carats. It was later cut to 94.5 carats before it was entered in the list of Crown Jewels of France.

It was originally cut into double-sided rose with a pear-shaped outline. It resembles a flattened briolette, and was last seen at a Christie’s sale in 1995 carrying a price tag of $4,324,554.

The Hooker Emerald

Popularly called as the Hooker Emerald Brooch, it weighs 75 carat and carries the reputation of once being adorned by Ottoman ruler Abdul Hamid II. It was mounted to his belt buckle. It was smuggled to Paris along with the Hope Diamond. It was won by Tiffany & Co. in an auction. It earned the name Hooker Emerald after Janet Annenberg Hooker bought it in 1955 and subsequently donated in 1977, valued at $500,000. 

The Mackay Emerald Necklace

Mined from Muzo in Columbia, this 167.97 carat emerald is one of the largest emeralds set with Art Deco diamond and platinum neckpiece. It was designed by Cartier in 1931. It earns the name Mackay Emerald necklace from the owner Clarence Mackay who gifted it to his wife, Anna Case. She donated the set in 1984 to Smithsonian Institute and has since been its custody.

The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby

World’s largest star ruby, The Rosser Reeves Star weighs 138.7 carat. It was first brought to prominence by business magnet Rosser Reeves using the stone in many advertisements for luxury items.  Mined from Sri Lankan gem quarries, the stone was heavily scratched which meant it had to polished and cut to a smaller size.  

The Star of Bombay

A misnomer, Star of Bombay is actually a sapphire originating in Sri Lanka. Its name is derived from a popular British gin, the Bombay Sapphire. It is a 182 carat star sapphire cut in cabochon. It was set in a platinum ring by Trabert & Hoeffer Inc. NY and later purchased by Douglas Fairbanks who gifted it to his silent film actress-wife, Mary Pickford. 

The Star of Artaban

A 287 carat cabochon cut sapphire, the Star of Artaban shares its origin with Sri Lankan gems. It has a blue white colour, and named as per a popular Persian folklore. It is currently housed inside the National Museum of Natural History.

 

Brilliant Cut: The Heart of Sparkling Diamonds

Diamonds, as we know them, have a rather symbolic relation with antiquity and grace. Between 15th century and 19th century, nearly 700 diamonds were extracted and cut to fit the crowns and tiaras of kings and queens all over the world. Britain, France and Russian alone consumed nearly 80% of the diamonds. Diamonds are mined from South Africa, Congo, Argentina, Peru, India, Burma and Sri Lanka. 

Diamonds are Brilliant Anyways

Brilliant cut Diamond is the most preferred machine process done on precious stone. The Standard Brilliant Cut gives the most optimal light refraction. The single beam of light passes through the diamond gem and gets refracted in a scintillating manner.

Diamonds are known for their hardness. In fact, they are the hardest known naturally occurring materials. It is one of the popular allotropes of carbon, other being- Graphite. Yes, graphite is the same material used in the pencil lid. Interesting, isn’t it! 

After 17th century, diamonds were cut into many other shapes. Table Cuts Diamond and Fancy Cuts became very popular. In the beginning of the 20th century, Asscher Cut too became very trendy. Even today, gemstones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds are cut like diamonds. Rose Cut, in major polls, ranks as the most preferred diamond shaping trend, especially for the purpose engagement, wedding and anniversaries.

The History of Brilliants 

The first reported instance of tagging a diamond with Brilliant Cut has reference to Italian gem cutters named Vicenzio Peruzzi and Cardinal Jules Mazarin. They are assumed to be the first gem cutters who worked in refining the Point Cuts and came out with something brilliant- Brilliant Cut. 

The history of Brilliants remains shrouded in doubt. It is known that Cardinal Mazarin commissioned twelve largest cut diamonds in France. All of them were listed as the first Brilliants. In 1813, a French lapidary artist and gem collector referred to Vicenzio Peruzzi as the inventor of Brilliants. The historians never acknowledge this notation because of lack of evidence. 

First Guidebook on Brilliant Cuts

The first manual on how to make Brilliant Cuts was published in the year 1750. It was compiled by English diamond dealer David Jeffries who wrote his observations in the Treatise on Diamonds & Pearls. It states that Brilliant Cut diamonds was already available in the market for more than five decades. So, it can be inferred that the English gem collectors were dealing in diamonds from the family since 17th century.

Shapes in Brilliant Cut

Brilliants are cut in Round, Oval and stars. Fancy outlines are also suitable in diamonds from this range. The English gems cut in Brilliant at an angle of 45° made across the crown and the pavilion. They showcase a four-fold symmetry with short lower girdle facets.

Standard Round & Fancy Brilliant

Standard Brilliants are symbols of revolution in gem-cutting technologies. The angles are lowered and reduced table with cutlet facet increases the brilliance of the diamond. Today, Standard Round Brilliants are shaped with Fancy Brilliants resulting in effervescent shapes like ovals, hearts, pears and marquise.

 

Rose Cut: A look at the Pristine Diamond cutting technology

Rose cuts are not new as they are often quoted to be. There have been instances when diamond dealers rate the rose cut as a 20th century phenomena. Breaking the norm, rose cut diamonds were pretty much the regular jewellery items in Antique and Heirloom collections. First rose cut diamond was made in 16th century. This cut continues to win hearts and remains one of the most sought after stones in the modern jewellery sets.

Why Rose Cut diamonds are named so?

The diamonds are cut in the shape resembling the open petals of the rose with spiralling pattern. When cut in the shape of the rose petals, the diamonds have a flat bottom and a larger surface area. This opens the surface to exhibit the brilliance even more emphatically. They feature triangular facets in the multiples of 6 on the tipped crown of the diamond. 

Why rose cuts lost the charm?

Undoubtedly, the rose cut diamond were symbolic representation of the Moughal glory in India. One of the most popular medieval gemstones is the Great Mogul, owned by Shah Jehan. The French traveller and gem collector, Jean Baptiste Tavernier,as one of the most beautiful stones he has ever seen.

Between 18th and 19th century, rose cut diamond lost the position significantly. New machining tools and cutting saws rendered the rose cut diamonds as out of fashion. They were largely replaced by the Brilliant Cuts Diamond. Popularity of Table Cuts and Point Cuts in diamond gems made the floral shaped diamond stones all the more obsolete in 18th century.The cut returned with a bang when the gem collectors tagged this as synonymous with the “engagement” and “romantic” stories.

What are different versions of rose cut?

Rose cuts are made on the diamond in an upside-down manner. The flat base is complemented by the dome-shaped crown converging at the centre of the stone. The different names of the Rose cut are Crowned Rose Cut, Full Holland Cut, Antwerp rose, Dutch Cut and the very popular Antwerp Rose cut diamond is machined in a hexagonal shape.

The Rose Cut Diamonds can be cut into 24 facets and 48 facets (called Double Dutch Rose). If you observe closely, the "Briolette Cut diamond" is actually a modified twofold Dutch Rose cut which has half of its hemisphere elongated against the other hemispherical half.

Another prominent variety of the cut is the Senaille Cut which has notable unsymmetrical facet.

Rose Cut Diamond Solitaire: The Magic

Considered as a regale cut, Rose Cut is used extensively in diamond solitaire, re-introduced with brilliant clarity and pristine lustre. The open mouth cut allowed the light to pass through the crystal freely with no hindrance in the setting.

Almost all diamonds can be cut into Rose. The most prominent factors to determine the feasibility of cutting a diamond into Rose are width and depth of the stone. Symmetry and crystal alignment are secondary factors that lapidary artists look for before going ahead with Rose Cut.

Colour changing Gemstones: The Mystery Decoded

There are exclusive gemstones named specifically as per the colour they reveal. For instance, Turquoise, aquamarine gemstone, opal, lapis gemstone and many more are only a handful of an exhaustive list. And then, there are others that have an effervescent optical characteristic of changing colours depending on the angle you view them, or on the way light falls on them.For example, Alexandrite runs a beaming green shade in daylight and mysteriously transforms into richly blue under fluorescent light. 

If that is not enough, the same stone displays a majestic play of orange and red colour when exposed to incandescent light.

How distinct is colour change phenomenon in gemstones?

Colour change is a well-recognised optical phenomenon that occurs in a gemstone when exposed to different wavelength of light. This optical property is observed in sapphires and garnets too, but it is exclusively called “Alexandrite Effect”. 

What is Alexandrite?

A type of chrysoberyl, Alexandrite is an orthorhombic gemstone named after the Tsar of Russian, Alexander II (1818-1881). Discovered for the first time in the Urals near River Tokovaya in 1834, the gemstone gained immense popularity only after master gemstone George Frederick Kunz produced some of the most magical platinum and diamond ensemble featuring Alexandrite. 

What contributes to the Play of Colour?

The chemical composition complemented by the crystalline structure and its double refraction index of 0.009 gives the stone its majestic optical brilliance. Just like its optical phenomenon, the crystal itself so very rare in the nature. Alexandrite is not a regular chrysoberyl. In addition to iron and titanium oxides, the gemstone also contains traces of chromium. Some minor traces of vanadium and gallium are also present but they are considered as impurities, rather than featuring as colouring agents.

Due to the presence of so many ions, Alexandrite reveals a show of colour ranging from green to yellow, brownish red to purple, yellow green to bluish green.

The most genuine form of gemstones 

Alexandrite is rarest gemstone to make it to the collector’s list. They are mined from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Burma, Tanzania and Brazil. Synthetic Alexandrites are yet to be produced with satisfying results. They remain untouched by the heat treatments and dyeing agents that mark the markets for sapphire and rubies.

A true gemstone bearing the tag of Alexandrite always exhibits two optical phenomena: Cat’s eye gemstone or chatoyancy and change of colour.

Cut and Clarity

Alexandrite is blessed with clear lustre and rarely has any inclusions. It’s the inclusions in sparing numbers that give the gemstone its chatoyancy property. Often cut in mixed cuts, aristocrats prefer uncut Alexandrite owing to the rarity and save weight. They are mostly available in cut form weighing less than one carat.

However, some world-famous Alexandrite stones are actually way heavier than standards. For example, the 17.08 carat Whitney or the 43 Carat Gem or 66-Carat Gem… they all are big and magnificent.

Perfect engagement gifts revered by the lovers all over the world- The Alexandrite Russian rings set on platinum…

Roman Love: Sizzling Garnet Varieties

Garnet bracelets are one of the world’s oldest recognised forms of gemstone jewellery. The Romans were known to adorn the rings and crowns adorned with garnets gemstones of different sizes.  They continue to be as impressive as they used to be in the 15th century. 

Garnets look like Pomegranate grains! 

Yes, they do resemble the fruity grains. And that is why they are named from Latin word “Garanatus” that translates to “like seeds of pomegranate”. Small garnets are brighter in shade than the bigger ones. If you have difficulty analysing the authenticity of the garnet, get it tested under a refractometer. There are many varieties of garnets. Some of the popular varieties are:

 

  • Pyrope
  • Almandine 
  • Grossular hessonite/ tsavorite
  • Uvarovite
  • Andradite 
  • Rhodolite
  • Spessartine 

 

Here are some less common, but very precious garnets available in the market sparingly.

 

  • Goldmanite
  • Morimotoite
  • Katoite
  • Hibschite
  • Kimzeyite
  • Schorlomite
  • Majorite
  • Calderite
  • Hydro-grossular
  • Knorringite
  • Kimberlites

 

World of synthetic garnets

Garnet is one of the easily synthesised gemstones in laboratories.  Apart from silica, calcium and magnesium, garnets crystals can be impregnated with ions of Germanium, Gallium, Aluminium, Vanadium and Iron. 

Very similar to zirconium, garnets too have their own series of synthetic gemstone members. Yttrium aluminium garnet- YAG, is one of the most popular and commercially accepted garnets to have made it big in the market. Other significantly popular synthetic garnets are Yttrium iron garnet- YIG, and Gadolinium gallium garnet- GGG. All synthetic garnet beads are coated with a film of magnetic substrate to replicate the magneto-optical properties as seen in the real gems.

So, how to identify a real garnet?

Physical testing for hardness, colour, magnetic properties and abrasive nature are popular methods used to separate original garnets from the synthetic ones.

Colours of garnet

Garnets used in modern day jewellery exhibit myriad colours like red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink and burgundy. Some garnets are pale and colourless as well which can be coloured after heat treatment. 

Darker the colour of the garnet, older is the age of the gemstone. Depending on the diffusion, garnets can have shallow colouring as well as core colouring. 

Discovered in 1990s, there is a special family of garnet called Blue pyrope–spessartine garnets. They exhibit multiple colour hues when observed from different angles. The colour changes from shades of green to purple, depending on the diurnal temperature and natural slight intensity.

Hardness 

Garnets is one of the hardest naturally available material on the planet. The synthetic garnets have hardness measured in Mohs scale. They could be anywhere between 6.5 and 7.8.

Magnetic Properties 

Easily the most authentic method to detect original garnets, magnetic susceptibility to neodymium magnet is a common feature among end members of the series.

But hey! Like all gemstones, garnets too can be faked and forged with impressive adulation. That is why there are certain restrictive trade regulations to keep only original garnets in the market. Find and assess gemstone certification that is tagged on every garnet.