How to Garner the Right Garnet

For all January babies, whether you are the careful Capricorn or a friendly Aquarius, your birthstone is Garnet. These splendid Biblical stones, rumored to carry healing and metaphysic properties, have adorned royalty since the beginning of time. Sometimes mistaken for rubies because they are mostly deep, rich, and red; all Garnets are formed under high pressure from complex varieties of natural elements such as chrome, magnesium, and titanium in more rare forms of the mineral stone. The Garnet is found in many colors ranging from the popular “Pyrope” denoting the classic deep red we all know and love to the more prized “uvarovite”, a bright emerald-like green. These stunning gemstones make fantastic birthstone bracelets and go well in multi-stone jewelry pieces.

The Garnet’s reputation has long been a source of debate because of the fact that it’s strong enough to be a precious stone, beautifully colored and transparent enough to be a gemstone, but abundant enough to be incorrectly labeled a semi-precious stone. Royals such as Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scots, and even King Solomon of the Old Testament wore these crimson gems believing they protected them from harm and delivered them to victory.

The most popular Garnet in jewelry is “pyrope,” which is always a shade of red and is the only Garnet that’s most common source is igneous (basically solidified from magma) rather than metamorphic (formed when other rocks are subjected to heat and pressure). Nonetheless, this claret mineral family is composed of more than ten different gems that vary in color and density. One of the more sought-after Garnets is the green variety called “andradite”, a rare and beautiful form of the mineral rock with a prismatic inner structure like that of the diamond. This group includes “demantoid” Garnets. The name is derived from the Dutch word for “diamond” (“demant”) because its brilliance is greater than that of diamond. Another green favorite is the superb tsavorite, both rarer and more luminous than its color twin, the emerald. There are even color changing choices that are different colors in different types of light and are often sought after by collectors. These stones are most often found as green changing to grey, or reddish-brown changing to grey. In a few rare instances, you can find a purple to aqua or blue to magenta color changing garnet. Legend has it these jewels provide a helpful source of protection and were said to improve friendships, ease isolation, reduce obstinacy, improve self-confidence, and offer balance.

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As with any ornamental purchase; the more you learn, the more savings you earn and there are a few things to bear in mind when shopping for this precious birthstone. Start by determining the goal of your Garnet jewelry, how you want it set, how you want it cut, and which color you like the most? They can be cut to any of the familiar jewel cuts – round, emerald, pear, oval, marquise and princess cut are the more traditional cuts. Aside from a few exceptions, these prized gems tend to be clear to the eye, meaning they have no visible inclusions without the assistance of magnification. Some inclusions actually add to the value of a stone. Such is the case with the “Demantoid” garnet, which frequently contain very desirable fuzzy inclusions referred to as horse-tail inclusions. Poorer quality red Garnets are commonly worn as cabochons (dome shaped and polished instead of faceted) or fashioned into beads. How much you can expect to pay will vary based on whether or not the stone is loose, the quality of the cut, and the color, quality/grade of the gemstone. Least expensive Garnets will be faceted red stones such as the “Almandite”, “Pyrope”, or “Rhodolite” varieties. “Spessarite” Garnets are priced a bit higher with some specimens, like a nice mandarin Garnet, costing upwards of $1000/carat. The most pricey and treasured gems are the Russian demantoid variety because of their brilliance, rarity and diamond-like qualities. Rough uncut Garnets cost a lot less, but are not as wearable as their expertly cut equal. Their wonder and worth is recognized by monarchs and the mainstream alike, their brilliance will forever be valued as one of the Earth’s most unique and colorful natural stones.

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More information about Rogers Jewelry:

Since 1944 Rogers Jewelry has been operating at the same location, in what is now the Bank of America building in Quincy Center. Their credo is to treat customers as they want to be treated when shopping. See their outstanding selection of beautiful offerings at 1402 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA, reach them at 617-773-3636 or online at


by Bruce Bertman