Unlike sapphires and rubies, which share an extremely hard mineral called corundum as their source, garnets come from a group of stones, whose crystal structure is the same but whose chemical composition and colors differ. Minerals mined for garnets include the relatively common pyrope and almandine (what we think of as the traditional red carbuncle), rhodolite and spessartite (violet and orange, respectively), and tsavorite and demantoid (these green stones are the most valuable garnets in the world).

Red garnets are most common form of the gemstones, used in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. Pyrope contains iron, among other minerals, which gives its garnets a blood-red color. The stones were favorites of Victorian jewelers, while those in Bohemia (the present-day Czech Republic) have used garnets cut from pyrope for more than 500 years.

Almandine garnets are even darker, which is why they are sometimes carved out at the base to let more light filter through the gem. More brittle than pyrope, almandine garnets are susceptible to chipping, but this problem is offset by the stone’s ubiquity—they are found widely in metamorphic rocks around the world.

The chemical love child, if you will, of pyrope and almandine is rhodolite, whose garnets shade to a bright violet. In the U.S., these stones are mined in North Carolina’s Cowee Valley, which is also known for its rubies and sapphires. Internationally, rhodolite garnets are also found in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Spessartite garnets, which are orange, are relatively uncommon. Rarer still is the mandarin variety of the spessartite garnet, which is mined in Namibia. Similar in color, if not composition, are grossular garnets, which go by the name hessonite (a favorite gem of the ancient Greeks and Romans) and cinnamon stone. Malaya garnets from Madagascar vary in color from orange to cinnamon. Some malaya stones are considered so-called color-change garnets, which refers to a garnet whose hue intensifies when exposed to artificial light.

Finally there are the green garnets, which rival emeralds in appearance and wow-factor. Demantoids, which are mined in the Ural mountains of Russia, get their hue from chromium and are some of the most sought-after garnets in the world. Tsarvorite garnets are a relative newcomer on the gem scene, discovered only in 1967 near the Kenya-Tanzania border. In the 1970s, Tiffany’s named and marketed the gems around the world.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 9ct Gold Red Garnet Stone Trilogy Ring Hallmarked London 1977 3.4g SizeuAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Bracelet 1800'sVintage 1940s 18ct Rose Gold Diamond Garnet Pendant And ChainPair Vintage 18ct Gold Garnet Stud EarringsAntique 9ct Gold Ladies 5 Stone Turquoise Garnet RingFine Large & Heavy 1897 Victorian Garnet,turquoise And Seed Pearl 22ct Gold RingAntique Chester 9ct Gold Garnet Seed Pearl Garnet Oval LocketVintage Unsigned Christian Dior Robins Egg Turquoise Garnet Necklace & EarringsBeautiful 9ct Gold Real Vintage Garnet NecklaceVictorian 1800's Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Earrings, Genuine!Victorian Style 9ct Gold Garnet Pearl Cluster RingVictorian Silver Enamel Cabochon Garnet Photo Locket BroochAntique 1940s Emerald Garnet Turquoise Pearl 4 14k Gold Band Ring Set MovesJ2166 Victorian **bohemian Rose Cut Garnet/pearl** Gold Filled Bracelet W.e.w&coRare & Ornate 18ct Gold Diamond & Garnet Ring Maker E.v Chester 1911 Antique Real 1ct Topaz Citrine Garnet Peridot Amethyst 925 Silver Ring Estate Antique 9ct Rose Gold Garnet Pendant1880s Antique Gothic Victorian Garnet Engraved 10k Ring Not Scrap Great Setting Art Nouveau 9ct Rose Gold Garnet Seed Pearl PendantAntique 18ct Gold 9ct Rose Gold Silver Garnet Cluster PendantPair Vintage 9ct Gold Garnet Drop EarringsVintage Antique Victorian Rose Cut Bohemian Garnet Necklace Earrings CzechAntique 8.10ctw Bohemian Garnet Cocktail Ring 14k Yellow Gold $4900 L042Beautiful 9ct Gold Real Antique Cabochon Garnet BangleFine Victorian Style Garnet Gold Ring14k Gold Vintage Bezel Set Amethyst Citrine Garnet Tennis Bracelet 7.75"Antique Victorian 15ct Gold Garnet And Old Mine Cut Diamond BroochRare Stunning Antique Georgian Garnet Hair Comb Tiara BoxedSmall Vintage 9ct Gold Garnet Pearl 3 Row Necklace Bracelet ClaspEstate Big Real 45.65ct Ruby Sapphire Rare Green Garnet Sterling Silver RingFine Victorian Cabochon Garnet Gold RingMost Fabulous Antique Bohemian Garnet Seed Pearls Huge 10k Gold Filigree RingAntique 9ct Rose Gold Ladies 5 Stone Garnet RingFinest Antique Victorian 9ct Gold Oval Cut Bohemian Garnet Solitaire Ring Antique C1820 Georgian Flat Cut Garnet Pearl Mourning Brooch Clasp 3.2 X 2.2 CmAustralian Opal & Garnet Ring Yellow Gold Natural Estate Fine Green Opalesence Antique Edwardian 9ct Gold Garnet Seed Pearl Sweetheart Bar Brooch 1910Fine Georgian Garnet Eyed Slug BroochLadies Vintage 9ct Gold Garnet Daisy Cluster Ring F0357Beautiful Wide Antique Georgian Garnet Embossed Hinged Bangle Bracelet CuffWonderful Vtg Victorian Gold Fl Garnet Glass Enamel Watch Fob & Chain Ne1625Vintage 333 Yellow Gold Ring With Garnet Stone Lions Head Germany 8k Rare!Stunning Vintage 8.00 Carat Garnet Pear Shape 14k Gold Pendant & ChainHigh Quality Designer David Yurman 14k Gold Sterling Silver Garnet Stone RingVintage Diamond 3.67ct Oval Purple Garnet Cabochon Earrings 14k Gold 10.2 GramsVintage Antique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Dangle Pierced Earrings CzechVictorian Era Estate Garnet Bib Necklace AwesomeAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Dangle NecklaceEstate 14k Yellow Gold Sts Chuck Clemency Citrine Amethyst & Garnet Rainbow RingAntique Victorian Red Bohemian Garnet Bracelet 7" Signed Czechoslovakia CzechFine 1901 Edwardian Garnet And Diamond Gold RingAntique Victorian Hallmarked 9ct Gold Red Garnet Pin Brooch Ladies Jewellery Bohemian Rose Faceted Cut Garnet Ring Rich Red Color 14k Yellow Gold Size 7Antique Victorian Natural Bohemian Pomegranite Garnet Woven Bead NecklaceSign 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Earring Garnet Seed Pearl Filigree Elegant 4094Antique Victorian Estate Bohemian Garnet Rose Cut Flower Pins-gold Filled.Beautiful 9ct Gold Real Garnet Vintage Cluster Ring Size MEstate Big Long Real 50.54ct Aquamarine Rare Green Garnet Sterling Silver Ring1.15 Ct Garnet & Diamond Ring 14k Yellow Gold Natural Fine Red Pear Cut Size 7.5Beautiful 9ct Gold Real Vintage Deco Garnet Solitaire Ring Size P