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    

Antique Victorian Large Bohemian Garnet Dangle Pendant NecklaceAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Snowflake Star Wide BraceletFine Victorian Syle Garnet And Seed Pearl Gold Double Cluster RingRare Antique Victorian 10k Gold & Filled Opal Garnet Pearl 14 Slide Bracelet. Antique Victorian 15ct Rose Gold Ring. Almandine Garnet Citrine Green PasteAntique C. 1880 Victorian 14k Yellow Gold Bohemian Garnet Hand Carved Earrings!Antique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Four Row Bangle BraceletGia Estate 6.22 Ct Vvs Natural Spessartite Garnet Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold RingAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Bangle BraceletFine Pair Of Heavy Victorian Garnet And Baroque Pearl Gold Drop EarringsFine 3 Strand Natural Opal Necklace With Gold Garnet And See Pearl ClaspAntique, Victorian Owl & Bohemian Garnet Earrings 14k & Gold Rolled Plate $1nr Barbara Bixby Diamond Citrine Garnet 18k Silver Key Drop Pendant 11.2 Grams NrAntique Victorian 9ct Gold Cabochon Garnet Mourning Pendant LocketStunning Antique 15ct Gold, Garnet & Claw BroochFind Vintage Russian Mogul Estate 14k Gold Deep Garnet Drop EarringsAntique C 1880 Victorian 14k Gold Bohemian Garnet Hand Carved Lavaliere NecklaceFine Art Deco Design Garnet & Diamond Gold RingVintage 14k Solid Gold Garnet Ring 5.2 Grams Size 6 Wear Or Scrap Estate Sale 4 Pc. Antique Victorian Garnet Dangle Earrings Cabochon Pin Brooch Medal JewelryVictorian Antique 14k Gold Dragon Stick Pin~garnet Eyes~open Mouth With PearlEstate Diamond 3.10ct Garnet 18k Gold Bead Pendant Necklace 9.4 Grams NrVintage 14k Yellow Gold Pearl Garnet Ring 6.2 Grams Wear Or ScrapVictorian Bohemian Garnet 2.5" Cross PendantSuperb Vintage C1970`s Solid 9ct Gold & Huge 2 Carat Garnet Set Solitaire RingAntique Euro 9k Yellow Gold 2.25ct Natural Oval Cut Garnet Solitaire Ring 1.8gAntique Victorian 14k Rose Gold Bohemian Garnet Seed Pearl Fly Bug Bee Stick PinMuseum Quality 15ct 14k Gold Victorian Garnet Snake Mourning Necklace Wow!Antique Victorian 14k Solid Gold Almandine Garnet Brooch Pin Estate PieceEstate Green Garnet Mother Of Pearl 18k Gold Flower Clip Earrings 14.8 Grams NrFabulous 3/4" Wide 50 Gram C1950 Vintage 9ct Rolled Gold Garnet Bangle BraceletFine Pair Of Art Deco Large Gold Garnet Cluster EarringsLarge Vintage Sterling Silver Dragonfly Brooch Marcasite Garnet Insect ButterflyVintage Antique Opal & Garnet Ring Large Vintage 14k Gold Ring With GarnetAntique Euro 1800's 9k Yg 7mm Natural Cultured Pearl And .06ctw Garnet Ring 2.3gAntique C. 1920 Deco 14k Yellow Gold 1.78 Ct Bohemian Garnet Estate Earrings!Antique 1880 Victorian 10k Gold Rose Cut Bohemian Garnet Lavaliere Necklace!Fine 14k Gold Green Garnet Pink Sapphire Citrine & Diamond Flower Butterfly Ring14k White Gold Engraved Filigree Clover Garnet Solitaire Ring Edwardian Sz 81800's Victorian 10k Yellow Gold 0.60 Ct Natural Rhodolite Red Oval Garnet RingFine Art Deco 3 Carat Pear Drop Almandine Garnet Gold RingSuperb C1970 Solid 9ct Gold & Natural Garnet Set Ladies Et Ring *outstanding* Antique Victorian Etruscan Revival Gold Filled Bohemian Garnet Bypass BraceletAntique Vintage Bohemian Garnet Gold Plated Sterling Silver Pin Pendant NecklaceAntique Georgian Garnet Seed Pearl & Turquoise Gold Brooch Damaged To RestoreAntique 14k Yellow Gold 3ct Garnet & Pearl Brooch800 Silver Bohemian Garnet PendantStunning 1.65ctw Natural Emerald And Trillion Garnet 14k Yellow Gold Ring 3.4g Outstanding Antique Art Deco 18k Rose Gold Ornate Setting Garnet Ring Size 6Antique Blue Enameled 14k Gold Opal Garnet 5 Band Stack Ring,6.5Fine Vintage Garnet And Opal Cluster Gold RingEstate Victorian Antique Genuine Bohemian Garnet Gold Stars & Flower 1.5" BroochVintage Watchmakers Spares, Jewels ,garnet , Ruby, Diamond Endstone,chattons Antique Austro Hungarian Renaissance Rev Silver Sapphire Garnet Paste BraceletVintage 14k Yellow Gold Dangling Earrings With 1.00 Ctw Garnet! #e27Vintage Signed Gold Plate 925 Silver Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Earrings PendantVintage 1973 Bham 9ct Yellow Gold Garnet & Opal Ring Size N (w46)Vintage 900 Coin Silver - Signed Gold Plate Garnet Cluster 4.8g - Pendant Ra9621Victorian Gilt Silver Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Earrings