January Birthstone-Garnet

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Garnet is the January Birthstone. The name garnet is derived from the Latin word "Granatum", meaning seed, as the traditional shape in which the stone is cut, resembles a pomegranate seed. Garnets have been used by Ancient Egyptians in their jewelry, and their are references to this gemstone as far back as 3rd Millennium BC. Garnets signify eternal friendship and trust. Depending on their chemical composition garnets  can have a variety of colors such as red, brown, yellow, orange, white, green or black.

Types of Garnets

Pyrope: This is the commonest of all garnets, usually dark red to black in colour. Czechoslovakia was one of the main producers of this type of garnet. The smaller stones were drilled to produce beads.

Alamandite: These stones have a deep red to brownish red color. Some  alamandites have a 4-rayed star produced by inclusions. Star garnets are found in India and the U.S. (Idaho).

Rhodolite: They have a rose red to purple color, and is a mixture of pyrope and alamandite in the ratio 2:1.Rhodolites may contain snowflake like inclusions.


Pyrope garnet,January Birthstone

Spessartite: The name is derived from Spessart, a location in Germany where this type of garnet was first discovered. The color varies from brown to red and also orange

Hessonite: This is a grossular garnet with a color ranging from orange to yellow.

Tsavolite or Tsavorite: This is a grossular garnet having an emerald green color. This garnet was first found in Tanzania in 1970,at a site near to Tasvo National Park. The name is derived from the name of the Park.

Andradite: This garnet has colors such as yellow, green, black, and brown. Demantoid is a transparent andradite with a very high dispersion and may appear like diamonds.

Malaya or Malaia: These garnets have a light to dark pinkish orange, reddish orange or yellowish orange color, with a moderate hardness of 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohr's scale. Malaya garnets are found in countries like Nigeria.

There are other garnets that may have slightly different shades than the ones classified above and are given different names such as Umba, Mint, Ant Hill, Maralambo, Imperial. These names may   indicate the site where they were discovered, but they all fall into one of the above categories.

A new category of garnets called Color Change Garnets have been discovered recently from mines in Tanzania and Kenya. These garnets change color depending on the light source, eg from cherry red (incandescent lighting) to purple blue (daylight)




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