The Passion of
Thought to possess calming and restorative powers.
The name garnet comes from the medieval Latin
“granatus,” meaning pomegranate, in reference to the
similarity in color. Thousands of years ago, red garnet
necklaces adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs,
and were entombed with their mummies as prized
possessions for the afterlife. In ancient Rome, signet
rings with carved garnets were used as seals to stamp
the wax that secured important documents. Centuries
later, during Roman scholar Pliny’s time (23 to 79 CE),
red garnets were among the most widely traded gems.
In the Middle Ages (about 475 to 1450 CE), red garnet
was favored by clergy and nobility.
Garnets are a set of closely related minerals that form
a group, resulting in gemstones in almost every color.
Pyrope and almandine range in color from purple to red.
Spessartine is found in a variety of oranges and yellows,
while andradite is mostly yellow to green. Grossular has
perhaps the widest color range of any garnet species,
from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and
orangy red, to a strong vibrant green called tsavorite.
Typical garnet clarity depends on garnet type. For
example, the red garnets almandine, pyrope and
rhodolite, typically do not have eye-visible inclusions.
Some of the orange garnets like spessartine and
hessonite, often have eye-visible inclusions. Because
inclusions affect its clarity, hessonite is not often used
With many different garnet species, the sources for this
gem vary. Most tsavorite garnet comes from the East
African countries of Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar.
Russia is recognized as the source for high-quality
Garnet is rarely treated.
Garnets can come in many colors but some have
specific variety names. Purple-red to purple
almandine is called rhodolite. Brownish orange
grossular is known as hessonite while green
grossular is called tsavorite. Green andradite is