Everything You Need to Know About Garnet

| 5 min read

Garnet prides itself on being one of the most colourful and vibrant treasures in the gemstone world. This red gem appears in many locations around the world, and has a rich history that traces back thousands of years.

Here, we look at the fascinating legacy of this lustrous gemstone, and explore how its vivid colours have captured the hearts of the world.


Garnet is the sole birthstone for January, and the anniversary stone for both the 2nd and 18th anniversaries. It sits between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale, but what sets this gemstone apart from the rest is its kaleidoscope of colours.

The many colours of Garnet derive from its exposure to different chemicals and elements while it forms. Consequently, the stone naturally appears in colours like orange, pink, purple, green and black, as well as the iconic red that we all know and love.

Most red and brown Garnets get their colour from iron exposure, whilst the pink and orange varieties are due to the presence of manganese. Green varieties derive from aluminium and chromium, which are also responsible for other green gemstones like Emerald.


Garnet Infographic

Crystal System Isometric

Specific Gravity 3.4 - 4.1

Refractive Index 1.72 - 1.89

Chemical Formula X3Y2(SiO4)3 (where X and Y vary by species)

Composition Varies by species


Garnet has such a diverse history that it can be difficult to pinpoint where its name originated from. However, some say that the name derives from the Latin word ‘granatus’, meaning ‘pomegranate’. The gem supposedly shares its name with the fruit due to its red colour and rough shape. Even today, many people associate the word 'garnet' with a a deep, rich red colour that radiates passion.


Apache Reservation, Arizona

Garnet, like most gemstones, has been around for such a long time that we will forever wonder about its exact moment of discovery. However, we do know that it has been used for jewellery for over five thousand years, as the stone was once found on the necklace of a mummified body recovered from an Egyptian tomb. This mummy dates back to around 3,500 BC, proving that the history of the gem goes back further than we can imagine.

The varieties we bring to you come from places like India, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar. However, the stone comes from many countries around the world, such as:

  • Afghanistan

  • Brazil

  • China

  • Australia

  • Myanmar

  • Tanzania

  • Zimbabwe

  • Madagascar

  • Namibia

  • Sri Lanka

  • Scotland

  • United States


Demantoid Garnet


Tsavorite Garnet hails from Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. Possibly the most valuable variety in the world, it has a vivid green hue that rivals gemstones like Emerald and Peridot. The Tsavorite variety was discovered by British geologist Campbell R Bridges in 1967. However, Bridges was refused an export licence in Tanzania, so the stone had to be rediscovered on the Kenyan side of the border before it could be revealed to the world.


This rare Garnet variety has a remarkable colour-change effect, and displays different hues when exposed to light. This supply comes from Bekily in Madagascar and is quickly diminishing, making this variety even more in demand.


Hessonite Garnet, sometimes known as the ‘cinnamon stone’, is a lustrous gem that appears in colours ranging from yellow to red. It is not always as expensive as other varieties, and is a popular stone for jewellery. Countries such as Tanzania and Sri Lanka are major Hessonite sources.


One of the most valuable varieties on the market right now, Demantoid Garnet is green, rare and brilliant. A member of the Andradite family, Demantoid Garnet was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia, and after mining ended in the early 1920s it was thought to be extinct – that is, until it was rediscovered in Namibia in 1996.

Many other varieties of Garnet are also available around the world today, such as Mandarin, Pyrope and Rajasthan.


Over the years, Garnet has earned a diverse array of legends and tales. Above all else, cultures around the world believe that it is the ultimate gift of passion and love. According to legend, the stone has the power to bring light to even the darkest of rooms, and it is written that Noah used it to illuminate the inside of his ark.

Ancient Romans have been known to wear Garnet jewellery when fine jewels and accessories were used to display wealth. In Greek mythology the stone was said to symbolise love and bring protection, as well as cure nightmares. In the concept of crystal healing, many people use Garnet as to realign the seven chakras.

When it comes to metaphysical properties of gemstones, we must point out that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are authentic. However, it is an interesting concept that deserves further exploration.


Mandarin Garnet

One of Garnet’s enviable attributes is that its colour is almost always completely natural, regardless of what colour it is. So, it is rare for the gem to undergo any type of heat treatment. The tried and tested method of warm soapy water and a soft cloth works well for cleaning a Garnet stone - but it should never be steam cleaned.

Like all gemstones, you should store your Garnet separately to avoid scratching and other forms of damage. If you choose to have the gem set into jewellery, always make sure you remove it before engaging in heavy work or exercise.

Garnet has one of the most diverse histories and one of the largest arrays of colours. The gemstone world holds it in extremely high regard, and rightfully so.

Are you looking to add Garnet to your gemstone collection? You can shop it right here on GemCollector.


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