Garnet

From left to right, back row first: Red rhodolite garnet from Kenya, cut in Marco Voltolini's "Tribal" design, 3.34 carats, 8mm; orange spessartite garnet from the Little Three Mine in California, 1.34 carats, 7mm Front Row, left to right: Tsavorite garnet from Kenya, 0.82 carats; unusual blue-green color-change garnet from a new find in Kenya, 0.27 carats.
From left to right, back row first: Red rhodolite garnet from Kenya, cut in Marco Voltolini’s “Tribal” design, 3.34 carats, 8mm; orange spessartite garnet from the Little Three Mine in California, 1.34 carats, 7mm
Front Row, left to right: Tsavorite garnet from Kenya, 0.82 carats; unusual blue-green color-change garnet from a new find in Kenya, 0.27 carats.

Overview

Garnet comes in a large number of colors and varieties.  In fact, what is commonly called garnet is really a group of several different mineral species that share a similar structure.  Many of these are used as gems, and more details on the individual species and varieties can be found on the dedicated pages.

Named Species/Varieties

The most common gem varieties of garnet are almandine, pyrope, spessartite, demantoid and grossular.  The named gem varieties are rhodolite (a mix of pyrope and almandine garnet), tsavorite (a green chrome-vanadium grossular garnet), Umbalite or raspberry garnet (a raspberry pink-red variety of rhodolite from the Umba River Valley in Tanzania), Mali Garnet, Malaia Garnet, and many more.

Where is it found

Garnet is found all over the world, although some types are more rare and limited in distribution than others.  For example, the deep green chrome-vanadium grossular garnet called tsavorite is found only in a few limited localities in Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar.  That said, most of the garnet used in jewelry today comes from Africa–namely Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

Use in jewelry

Garnets have been popular in jewelry since ancient times.  Because most garnets are relatively hard and brilliant, they wear well and can be used in virtually any kind of jewelry, even rings.

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