|Posted by email@example.com on September 30, 2011 at 5:55 PM|
Aren't garnets those wonderful deep-red gemstones you often find in antique jewelry? Well yes, to a certain extent, a deep, warm red indeed being the color most frequently found in garnets. Sadly, however, far too few people are aware that the world of the garnets is far more colorful than that. Spectacular finds, especially in Africa, have enhanced the traditional image of the garnet with a surprising number of hues - even if red does continue to be its principal colour. Thanks to their rich color spectrum, garnets today can quite happily keep pace with changes of style and the color trends of fashion. And thanks to the new finds,there is a reliable supply. So in fact this gemstone group in particular is onewhich gives new impetus to the world of jewelry today.
By the term 'garnet', the specialist understands a group of more than ten different gemstones of similar chemical composition. It is true to say that red is the color most often encountered, but the garnet also exists in various shades of green, a tender to intense yellow, a fiery orange and some fine earth-colored nuances. The only color it cannot offer is blue. Garnets are much sought-after and much worked gemstones - the more so because today it is not only the classical gemstone colors red and green which are so highly esteemed, but also the fine hues in between.Furthermore, the world of the garnets is also rich in rarities such as sta rgarnets and stones whose color changes depending on whether they are seen indaylight or artificial light.
And what else is there that distinguishes this gemstone group from the others? Well, first of all there isits good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. With a few minor exceptions itapplies to all the members of the garnet group, and it is the reason for theexcellent wearing qualities of these gemstones. Garnets are relatively insensitive and uncomplicated to work with. The only thing they really don'tlike is being knocked about or subjected to improper heat treatment. A further plus is their high refractive index, the cause of the garnet's great brilliance. The shape of the raw crystals is also interesting. Garnet means something like 'the grainy one', coming from the Latin 'granum', for grain.This makes reference not only to the typical roundish shape of the crystals,but also to the color of the red garnet, which often puts one in mind of the seeds of a ripe pomegranate. In the Middle Ages, the red garnet was also called the 'carbuncle stone'. And even today, fantasy names like Arizona ruby, Arizona spinel, Montana ruby or New Mexico ruby are still rife in the trade.
Not only do garnets have many colors; they also have many names: almandine, andradite, demantoid,grossularite, hessonite, pyrope, rhodolite, tsavorite, spessartine, anduvarovite, to quote but a few. But let us restrict ourselves to the mos i mportant and begin with the red garnets. First, there is the fiery red pyrope.Its spirited red, often with a slight brownish nuance, was a gemstone color much in demand in the 18th and 19th centuries. Garnets from a find in thenorth-eastern part of the former kingdom of Bohemia - small stones of awonderful hue - were world-famous at that time. In Europe, they were workedinto jewelry a good deal, especially in the Victorian period. That genuine Bohemian garnet jewelry was traditionally set with a large number of small stones, which were close to one another like the seeds of a pomegranate, with their red sparkle. And today too, garnets are still found in former Czechoslovakia and set close together according to the old tradition, the attractiveness of classical garnet jewellery thus consisting mainly in the beauty of the gemstones.
The larger central stones of the typical 'rosettes' are also mostly of garnet, though they belong to adifferent category. For the 'almandines', named after Alabanda, an ancientcity, have a chemical composition that differs somewhat from that of thepyrope. And why, one might ask, are they used as central stones? That's quite simple: because Nature has created the pyrope almost exclusively in small sizes, whilst allowing the almandine to grow in rather larger crystals.