Written by on 15 March 2013

Garnet is the birthstone for January and is my birthstone. I have always thought I had drawn the short straw with garnet as to the uneducated eye it seemed to be a dull lifeless stone with not very much interest about it. This seems to be a common misconception amongst most people however after doing some research into the stone it really is a beautiful stone. It has a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale and its crystals are cube like, octahedron, or pentagonal dodecahedron. It has a glass like lustre and some star garnets do exist but are not that common, they have a faint star appearance so are not as good as star sapphires. Here at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke jewellery we tend to use round, tapered baguette, princess and oval cut garnets and would advise our customers to be careful as they are not the most sturdy of stones and are quite brittle due to its lack of cleavage. Alternatives to garnets for a red stone would be ruby or spinel.

Garnet comes in a variety of colours not just the usual dark red colour that you normally see. There are different types of garnet engagement rings and here are a few of them:

Tsavourite is a gorgeous vibrant green coloured garnet that is quite commonly used instead of emeralds due to its bright rich colour. The colour can range from lime green to emerald green, it is transparent and is practically always faceted as a gemstone. The emerald green coloured tsavourites can only be found in stones under 2 carats as the crystals can only produce this size making these more expensive than the lime green gems. Tsavourites have a high lustre and contain golden needle like inclusions.

Rhodolite garnets have a lovely bright violet/pinky red colour and are one of the most popular garnets due to their richness of colour. They also have very little inclusions meaning the stone will be clearer and give more sparkle.

Another beautifully coloured type of garnet is a mandarin garnet which has a lovely rich orange colour. These orange stones are beautifully clear and quite rare due to not being found in gem quality material very often making these stones quite valuable. If you are looking for an unusual rare warm coloured stone to have in your engagement ring instead of the usual diamond this may be a good choice as they are rarely seen in an engagement ring.

As we have now seen from just three examples, of which there are many more of, there is a much bigger variety of colours and type of garnets than most people are aware of. They can be a brilliant choice of stone for their colour and we do have some examples of different cuts in our studios. If you are thinking about possibly commissioning a piece of jewellery and are tempted by a garnet then one of our designers will be able to show you some examples and advise you further on their qualities.