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    

Fine Antique Victorian Solid 14k Gold Garnet Heart Locket Charm BraceletAntique Victorian Edwardian 18k Gold Almandine Garnet Dangle NecklaceAntique Art Nouveau 9ct Rose Gold,almandine Garnet & Seed Pearl Pendant.only 99pFancy C1890 Antique Victorian 10k Rose & Yellow Gold Gf Garnet Paste NecklacePretty Art Nouveau 9ct Rose Gold Almandine Garnet & Seed Pearl Pendant BroochFine 18ct / 18k Gold And Almadine Garnet Victorian NecklaceAntique Early Victorian .80 Ct. Rose Cut Diamond & Garnet 10k Gold 3 Stone RingRetro 14k Yellow Gold Triptych 6 Picture Locket Bohemian Garnet Pearl PendantBarbara Bixby 18k Gold Sterling Pink Rhodolite Garnet Topaz Key Enhancer PendantAntique Victorian Genuine Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Star Pendant / Brooch Antique Victorian English 9k Gold Almandine Garnet & Seed Pearl Ring C1882 $1 NrAntique Victorian 14k Y Gold 1.2ctw Natural Round Cut Opal & Garnet Floral Ring Lovely Vintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Jade Garnet Tourmaline Stone Pendant**antique 14k Yellow Gold Ruby Garnet Opal Ring 0.5x0.75" 6.5 Grams Size 7.5Antique C. 1920 Art Deco 14k Gold Ruby Pearl Amethyst Garnet Slider Bracelet!Estate 1.50ct Natural Tsavorite Garnet & Diamond 14k Solid Yellow Gold RingVintage Estate 14k Gold .58 C Tsavorite Garnet Diamond 2.75" Cross Pendant!Art Deco 14k Yellow Gold 1.5ct Custom Cut Natural Garnet And Diamond Ring 4.2gBeautiful Victorian Garnet 18k Rose Gold RingEstate 1.65ct Garnet 14k Yellow Gold Cocktail Ring 7.4 Grams NrGorgeous 10k Y Gold Natural 2ctw Natural Tsavorite Garnet And Diamond Ring 1.9gAntique Victorian Genuine Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Star Pendant Antique German 333 9ct Gold Ladies Bohemian Garnet Ring - Uk Size O (t156)Fabulous Antique Victorian Gold Filled Bohemian Garnet Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Genuine Bohemian Rose Cut Garnet Star Bangle Antique Georgian 18k Gold French Diamond Turquoise Garnet Pearl Brooch Pin Estate Find..vintage Gold Filled Garnet Hinged Bracelet Germany9ct/9k Gold Heavy Garnet,citrine,peridot,amethyst & Topaz BraceletAntique Victorian Gold Filled Garnet Glass Engraved Open Bangle BraceletFine Antique 9ct Gold Victorian Almandine Garnet & Enamel Etruscan Brooch Pin Vintage 2.27ctw G-si1 Diamond & Rhodolite Garnet14k Yellow Gold Ring 3.g Size 9Antique Silver Bohemian Garnet Seed Pearl Brooch Hallmarks Hungarian ? UnusualFine 9ct / 9k 375 Gold And Garnet Earrings Estate 4.85 Carats Natural Rhodolite Garnet & Diamond 14k Solid White Gold RingAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Brooch Pin Watch/ Locket Holder As IsJudith Ripka Cuff Sterling Bracelet Cz's Onyx Rhodolitet Garnet 6 1/2 -6 3/4Fabulous Antique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Bracelet10k Solid Yellow Gold Garnet Cocktail Ring Vintage Big Size 7 Weighs 4.9 GramsEstate 1.35ct Garnet 18k Yellow Gold Square Halo Ring 7.6 Grams NrEtruscan Revival Parure Rhodolite Garnet Seed Pearl 15k Gold Earrings PendantAntique Sterling Silver Oriental Dragon Garnet 20 Gram Unique Cuff BraceletStunning Antique Edwardian 9k Gold Garnet & Peridot & Seed Pearl Brooch Pin Vintage Chunky 18k Yellow Gold Garnet & Diamond Cluster Cocktail Ring Sz 5.759ct Gold Garnet & Diamond Ring Antique Victorian Bohemian Rose Cut 3 Row Garnet Czech Bangle Bracelet Antique Garnet Cross On 14k Yellow Gold Chain Cross 38 Mm X 25 Mm Superb NrEstate $3000 14k Yellow Gold Natural Colorful Oval Opal And Garnet Ring 0.90 CtsAntique Victorian 1800s Natural Garnet Pearl 10k Gold Lavalier Pendant CharmGia Cert Estate 6.25 Ct Vs1 Demantoid Garnet Diamond Platinum Vintage Ring 18kEstate $1400 14k Yellow Gold 1.00 Ct Natural Green Tsavorite Garnet Diamond RingLori Bonn Sterling Twilight Topaz And Garnet Gemstone Estate Necklace 16grVintage Jewellery Stunning Silver Flower Brooch With Garnet CrystalAntique Sold 925 Sterling Silver 1.05ctw Genuine Red Garnet Filigree Ring Sz 7.5Estate $1,100 Men's 10k Solid Gold 3 Ct. Garnet & Diamond Ring Sz. 10.5Stunning 10k Gold Estate Natural Rough Fire Orange Spessartite Garnet EarringsVintage 14k Yellow Gold .8 Carat Red Garnet Adpg Designer Stud EarringsAntique Victorian 10k Yellow Gold & Genuine Garnet Ring~size 7~maker's Mark "w"Vintage 22k Gold Heavy Rhodolite 11.2 Gram Garnet Long 26 Inch Necklace10k Y Gold Natural 2ctw Natural Emerald & Trillion Cut Tsavorite Garnet Ring 2gVintage Yellow Gold Ruby Garnet Ring Earring Pendant 3pc Set