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 garnet 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.

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