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 Edwardian Belle Epoque Bohemian Garnet Dangle NecklaceAntique Georgian Rose Gold Garnet & Seed Pearl Mourning Brooch.Austro Hungarian Arts & Crafts Cabochon Chalcedony & Garnet Silver BraceletAntique Georgian Yellow Gold & Garnet Mourning Brooch, Woven Hair CompartmentJugendstil Bohemian Garnet Bracelet 19 Century, With 333 Yellow Gold Clasp Imperial Russian 84 Silver Ring With Bohemian Garnet 84 Hallmark Romanov DynastyFine Pair Of Georgian 18k Gold Garnet Drop EarringsAntique Victorian 1800s 4ct Natural Bohemian Garnet 10k Yellow Gold Ring 6gAntique Victorian Flat & Rose Cut Bohemian Garnet Square Brooch Pin FlowerEstate 14k Yellow Gold Red Garnet Diamond Halo Designer Cocktail Statement RingVery Nice Estate 14k Yellow Gold Garnet Bracelet Retail $2450Antique Victorian Sterling Woven Silver Snake Bracelet, Garnet Eyes- GorgeousPair Of Garnet & Cultured Pearl Gold Drop EarringsEstate 16.07ctw Natural Hessonite Garnet And Diamond Ring 14k Solid Yellow Gold Antique Garnet Necklace To Restore Or For PartsAntique Vintage Victorian Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Cluster Bracelet Gold Tone 7"Estate $2300 14k Yellow Gold 8.00 Ct Natural Red Oval Garnet And Diamond RingElegant Victorian Style 14k Solid Gold Turquoise & Garnet Fringe Brooch Pin GonAntique Art Deco Czech Gilt Brass Garnet Glass Stone BraceletAntique 9ct Gold Garnet Brooch In Original BoxAntique Victorian 9ct Gold Garnet Serpent Stick Pin/brooch127,5 Gr. Red Momo Coral Necklace Round 13,5 Mm Beads Wunderful Garnet ClaspAntique Bohemian Victorian Festoon Necklace W/ Garnet Clusters In Original BoxAntique Victorian Gilded 900 Silver Bohemian Garnet Pin Brooch Pendant B1Beautiful 9ct Yellow Gold Garnet And Opal Vintage Ring Size QAntique Garnet And Seed Pearl With Worked Gold EarringsVictorian Antique 9ct Yellow Gold Garnet Pendant And ChainVintage Victorian & Femminine Design 14k Gold Multi Garnet Ring 7.8 GramsAntique C 1920 Art Deco 14k Yellow Gold Chinese Garnet Multi Jade Jadeite Ring!Estate $4100 14k Yellow Gold Natural Oval Red Garnet Huggie Earrings 2.50 CtsFine! C.1920's Antique Genuine Bohemian Garnet Graduated Gold Bracelet ~lovely!~Antique Victorian Pierced Silver Encased Bohemian Garnet Stick Pin/broochSweet Victorian 10k Solid Yellow Gold Opal Garnet Stone Pearl Necklace SlideAntique Victorian 1870s Garnet Pearl 10k Gold Lavalier Pendant CharmEstate 14k Yellow Gold Orange Red Garnet Diamond Halo Designer Pendant NecklaceAntique 22.00ct Garnet 14k Gold Lantern Lamp Pendant 15.2 Grams NrAntique Victorian 14k Rose & White Gold Garnet Pierced EarringsAntique Georgian Gold Closed Back Garnet Stick Pin/broochWomens 6 Estate 14k Gold & Garnet Dinner Ring Vintage Marked Cl 14 K 5 StonesBeautiful Pair 14k Yellow Gold Pearl & Garnet Earrings Custom-made No ReserveRare Biedermeier Brooch Bohemian Garnet In Gold Plated 19 CenturyAntique Victorian Gilded 900 Silver Bohemian Garnet Pin Brooch Pendant B2Finest Vintage 9ct Rose Gold Garnet Set Oak Leaf Brooch - Bohemian Jewellery LtdVintage Retro 1070s 9ct Gold Garnet Ring , Size T Us 10Estate 9.25 Carats Natural Red Garnet & Diamond 14k Solid White Gold RingVintage Red Garnet & 0.32ct Diamond Textured Band Ring 14k Yellow Gold (sz 6) NrAntique Heavy Jumbo 14k Gold 7.0ct Garnet Filigree Brooch/pendant 17.9 GramsVintage 9ct Gold Celtic Weave Shoulder Garnet Ring , Size L Us 6Elegant 14k Solid Yellow Gold Large 5 Ct. Garnet & Diamond Necklace Pendant NrSilver Gem Set Earrings Tanzanite Citrine Garnet Amethyst WowVictorian Bohemian Garnet Three Tier Brooch Gold OverlayVtg Garnet Citrine Aquamarine Topaz Cz Stone Italy Sterling Silver Necklace 18"Fine Pair Of Vintage Garnet & Opal Cluster Gold Earrings14k Yellow Gold Antique Large Bohemian Garnet Cocktail Ring Size 8Estate Vintage 14k Solid Gold Natural Garnet Ring Size 8Beautiful 9ct Gold Opal And Garnet Vintage London Hallmarked Ring Size MBeautiful 9ct Gold Vintage Opal And Garnet Cluster Ring Size NVintage 10k Gold Stunning Garnet And Diamond Ring Size 7 Fine Victorian Bohemain Pyrope Garnet Bead Rope Vtg 36" Long Necklace7 Art Deco-victorian Era Bohemian Garnet + Sterling Silver &metal Stick Hat Pins