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 Jewel History blog have been treated to her weekly (someti… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Victorian Gold Plate Garnet Snake Serpent & Heart Pendant NecklaceBeautiful Victorian 15ct Gold Foiled Garnet Heart Mourning Hair Pendant LocketGia 10.30 Ct Natural Vvs Spessartine Garnet Diamond 18k Yellow Gold Estate RingAntique Victorian Genuine 14k Gold Bohemian Garnet Cluster Ring Size 4.25Vintage 9ct Gold Garnet Single Row Hand Knotted Pearl Necklace14ct/ 14k Gold Almandine Garnet & Seed Pearl Victorian Style Ring, 585 Antique Georgian/victorian Gold Garnet/pearl Bail/bale Ladies Victorian Style Gold Filled Garnet Coiled Snake Serpent Bracelet Sms NrEstate 2.00ct Garnet 18k Gold Cluster Ring Nr15ct/ 15k Gold Garnet & Seed Pearl Victorian Art Nouveau Ring, Chester 1900, 625Vintage Ed Levin 14k Gold And Sterling Silver Bracelet With Cabachon GarnetEstate Red Coral & Garnet Ring 14k Yellow Gold Fine Vintage Natural Size 7Victorian Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Cluster BroochVintage Czech Bohemian Red Rose-cut Garnet Solid Silver Gilt Cluster Earrings**antique 14k Yellow Gold Garnet Seed Pearl 2" Brooch 3.0 Grams 9ct/ 9k Gold Garnet Victorian Snake Ring, 375Victorian 9ct Gold Natural Garnet & Diamond Ring Size O9k Gold 9ct Solid Gold Vintage Garnet Ring Size MOld Pawn Vintage Navajo Row Red Garnet Sterling Womens Or Mens Bracelet Antique 1940s Retro 3ct Ruby Garnet 10k Yellow Gold Ballerina RingEstate 14k Yellow Gold Natural Amethyst Topaz Garnet Peridot Citrine BraceletAntique Victorian 18k Gold Realistic Horse Garnet Eye Brooch PinAntique Victorian Sterling Silver Vermeil Bohemian Garnet Cuff Link LocketArt Deco Vintage/antique Bohemian Garnet Dangling Earrings9k Gold 9ct Solid Gold Vintage Garnet Love Heart Ring Size KVintage Juliana Style Garnet Red Nugget Glass Rhinestone Necklace Earrings Set Vintage Sterling Silver - Garnet Drops Collar Toggle 120.1g - Necklace (16.5")9ct/ 9k Gold Garnet & Cultured Pearl Cluster Victorian Style Ring, 375Antique Vintage C. 1940 Deco 14k Gold Tsavorite Garnet Diamond Buckle Ring! Sz 6A Superb Art Deco Design 4.00 Ct Opal & Garnet Heavy 9 Ct Gold RingEstate $1100 10k Yellow Gold 1.00 Ct Natural Red Round Garnet Ring Vintage Victorian Three Rows Rose Cut Garnet Bangle BraceletVtg 925 6 Strand Marcasite & Garnet Beaded Tassel Drop 17" Necklace 77.4g #9685Silver Garnet Snake RingAntique Silver Austro Hungarian Tourmaline Garnet Pearl PendantFine Pair Vintage Garnet Loveheart 9ct/9k/9carat/375 Gold EarringsLarge Nicky Butler Sterling Silver Moonstone & Pearl Garnet Cross PendantVintage Bohemian Garnet 3" By 7/8" Crown Style Brooch Gorgeous 9.5g NrVintage Czech Bohemian Red Rose-cut Garnet Silver Gilt Butterfly Brooch/pinAntique Bohemian Garnet Sterling Silver With Gold Large Ring Sz 79ct/ 9k Gold Garnet Flower Vintage Stud Earrings, 375Ladies Antique Fine Sterling Silver & Rhodolite Garnet Bead Necklace 16.25" LongVs Clean! 1.76ct 7.5x5.5mm Antique-cut Natural Reddish Orange Spessartite GarnetVintage Old Czech Opal/garnet Red Glass Beads Necklace & Butterfly PendantVintage 9ct Gold Opal Garnet Cluster RingGorgeous! Vtg 2 Std Art Deco Pigeons Blood Garnet Glass Bead Necklace!! Ma833Art Deco 1.25ct Genuine Garnet 925/14k Rose Gold Vintage Wedding Filigree RingStunning And Rare Victorian Pinchbeck With Garnet Drop Brooch With Safety ChainSterling Silver Vintage Flowers Marcasite & Garnet Bracelet 7.5" (33.6g) 525905Estate Diamond Jade Garnet 14k Yellow Gold Cocktail Ring 9.9 Grams NrVintage Art Deco Gold Gf Floral Filigree Carved Shell Cameo Garnet Bead NecklaceZolotas Greece 18k Gold Ruby Garnet Ram's Head Brooch PendantEstate $1800 14k Yellow Gold 1.50 Ct Natural Red Pear Garnet And Diamond RingTabra High End Abalone Shell And Rhodolite Garnet Sterling Estate Ring 5.5gr Vintage Lucien Piccard 14k Gold Garnet Stone CufflinksAntique Victorian Garnet And Seed Pearl Earring Jackets W/ Cultured Pearl Studs Antique Victorian/georgian Gold Filled Bangle Buckle Bracelet With Garnet OrnateVintage 9ct Gold Garnet 5 Stone RingVintage Sterling Silver Natural Garnet Shield Ladies Ring 10.4gAntique Victorian Garnet Heart Shaped Easel Back Picture Frame.