ABOUT GARNETS IN ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY
Garnets come in all colors, except blue. They can be extremely brilliant, like the demantoid garnet. Garnets also have a variety of transition metals and minerals in their structure. Garnets are generally a very durable stone.
BIRTHSTONES AND ANNIVERSARIES
The garnet is the birthstone for January and is the suggested stone for celebrating second wedding anniversaries.
ORIGIN OF NAME
The word garnet comes from the Latin "granatum" meaning seed like. Early scientists thought that the color and shape of garnets in rock crystal resembled pomegranate seeds.
Garnet beads and jewelry inlaid with garnets may have been traced back to the Egyptians (3100BC). Czechoslovakia was known to produce garnets in the 18th and 19th century and excavations of lake dweller's graves have uncovered garnet necklaces dating back to the Bronze Age. Garnets were popular during the Roman era. Garnet-inlaid jewelry has been discovered in southern Russia in graves dating to the seventh century. Aztecs used garnets for their decorative tribal wear.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY PERIODS USING GARNETS
Jewelry periods during which garnets were often used: Early Victorian Period, Late Victorian and Edwardian Period. Garnets have been cut into cameos, carved into decorative items and cut into rose cut shapes for jewelry. Garnets are popular in current and contemporary estate jewelry.
Garnets are formed in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Garnets have been found in the many countries: to include the US, Tanzania, India, Czechoslovakia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Italy, Korea, Russia, Mexico and in Zaire.
A single garnet provided light on Noah's Ark according to the Talmud. Garnet is believed to drive away melancholy, be a remedy for hemorrhage and inflammatory disease and protection from wounds. In the 1890's the Hanzas used garnet bullets during battles in Kashmir, as they believed that garnet bullets would be deadlier than lead bullets.
ESTATE JEWELRY AND VINTAGE JEWELRY CARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR GARNETS
Clean with mild cleaners. Estate garnet jewelry should always be removed prior to washing one's hands or dishes. Ultrasonic cleanings are usually safe, but still should be used with extreme caution as they may ruin a garnet. Sudden temperature changes may cause fractures to garnets.
SOME VARIETIES OF GARNET:
ANDRADITE: found in Russia, Namibia, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Arizona. The fire of a demantoid garnet is greater than that of a diamond. Demantoid garnets were used frequently in Victorian jewelry in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Another andradite variety, Melanite, was used in mourning jewelry because of its dark, black nature.
ALMANDINE: are found in Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Australia, Tanzania, Madagascar and the US. Most garnets sold in the US are considered almandine, though they may contain a high percentage of pyrope garnet.
COLOR CHANGING GARNET: found in a variety of colors and displays many color changes that might allow it to be mistaken for an alexandrite. Colors range from blue-green in daylight to red in incandescent light.
MALI GARNET OR GRANDITE: circulated since 1995, they are available in greens, yellows or browns. Found in Mali.
MALAIA: Originally unsuccessfully targeted for the Japanese market. The nickname for these garnets became "malaia," a Swahili word meaning "outcast" or "prostitute". Generally a reddish orange garnet, may be reddish, pinkish or yellowish.
GROSSULAR or the TSAVORITE VARIETY: a green garnet that has recently been gaining in popularity. This garnet is generally yellowish-green, but does come in other shades of green, including emerald green. Discovered in Tanzania in the 1960's. It gets its name from The Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
PYROPE: a deep red garnet that is found throughout the world. It has been given incorrect names such as "Cape Ruby" or "Arizona Ruby".
RHODOLITE: Generally found in Africa, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. This is a purple-red garnet that was originally classified in North Carolina, US in the 1880's.
Crystal system: Cubic (isometric)
Cleavage: None - but may have parting
Refractive Index 1.714 - 1.895
Refractive qualities: single refractive
Specific Gravity: 3.5 to 4.3