Garnets are a beautiful category of precious gemstones that have been used since the Bronze Age as a form of decoration, and in modern times, they are the birthstone for people born in January. Many garnets are so beautiful that the ancients confused them with rubies. Garnets are typically found in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. The deep lustrous color and the hardness of a garnet make it ideal for many types of jewelry.
What Is a Garnet?
A garnet is not one specific type of gemstone. Instead, it is an entire group of over ten different silicate minerals, which all look the same, even though they have slightly different chemical compositions. The classic, deep red shade of a garnet is the most common hue, but garnets can be found in orange, brown, yellow, and black. Garnets can even appear in purple, pink, or green shades, but these colors are incredibly rare. Most garnets have a glassy lustre, but some varieties have a more brilliant, fiery appearance.
What Are Popular Cuts for Garnets?
Garnets are typically cut in standard shapes such as brilliant or pear shaped, so that they can easily be set into a variety of jewelry types. The hardness of a garnet makes it ideal for a cabochon cut, such as the one in our classic Gent’s Garnet Ring, because the smooth surface will not be easily marred by scratches or dings. Garnets typically do not have any sort of inclusions and are quite refractive, so almost any cut works well with a nice garnet stone. Rare garnets, such as the green-hued tsavorites, are often cut in irregular cuts that maximize the carat weight of the stone and highlight the color.
What Types of Jewelry Are Garnets Used In?
Garnets are quite hard, and they are a 7.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes garnets ideal for everyday wear, especially for rings or bracelets, since a bit of rough treatment will not usually injure a garnet. Garnets are often seen as a cheap substitute for a ruby, but a good quality garnet can actually be just as expensive. The large size of garnet makes them perfect as the signature stone in a piece of jewelry surrounded by other smaller gems. For example, this custom garnet ring has a deep, warm tone that makes it a perfect complement to the cool toned metal and other gemstones. Depending on the shade of the garnet, it may be better suited to a warm metal, such as gold, or a cool metal, such as silver.