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All You Need to Know About Garnets

hgo-r122gtwcGarnets are a group of closely related minerals that express themselves in hues of many colors. The most common color for a garnet is red, but greens and a variety of other colors are also part of the garnet family. Many red garnets do not have eye-visible inclusions, while those of other color sometimes do.

Although garnets are frequently cut into standard shapes and sizes, they can also be fashioned into designer cuts. The red garnet is commonly found to have high clarity and to be very transparent, which makes delightful jewelry that has a reputation for being fiery.

Garnets can be found in all sizes and weights, varying from very small to very large. They are used for rings, cabochons, and beads as well as other types of jewelry. Garnet is one of only a few untreated gems. Its variety of color, size and quality means that you can pay anywhere from $40 to $5,000 per carat.

Pharaohs highly prized garnets and made them into necklaces that were buried with them in their tombs to be used in the afterlife. In ancient Rome, carved garnets were set in rings and used to stamp the wax that sealed important documents.

garnet-heart-stud-earrings-in-silverThere are said to be four precious stones that God gave to King Solomon, the red garnet—called a carbuncle— among them.

Around 1500, a large deposit of garnets was found in Bohemia, in central Europe, which became the center of a regional jewelry industry that peaked in the late 1800s. Many Bohemian castles and churches had rich ornamentation made from garnets. Bohemian jewelry today often features small garnets placed closely together, resembling the pomegranate, which is where the name garnet originated (the Latin word for “seedlike,” referring to the pomegranate, is garanatus).

The garnet is one of two birthstones for the month of January as well as the signature stone for the second wedding anniversary.

yellow-gold-baguette-garnet-bandIn medieval times, garnets were thought to alleviate depression and diseases of the liver, and to protect against bad dreams.

The garnet is easily cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft brush, making sure you rinse the stone well. Except for the demantoid variety (a flawless, clear green garnet), ultrasonic treatments may also be used to clean the stone. Do not steam clean your garnet. As with all gemstones, protect it from sharp blows, harsh temperatures, and chemicals.

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