Monday, January 4, 2010
Believed to represent faith, loyalty, truth and devotion, garnet is known as the stone of commitment. Most people think of garnet as a single type of gem that is dark red in color. Actually, garnet is a gem family that spans a range of red, green, yellow, orange, purple and brown shades.
Garnet's name comes from the Latin "Granatus," which means "seed-like." Many garnet crystals have the shape and color of pomegranate seeds.
Best known among the garnets are the deep red almandine and pyrope garnets. Their widespread availability makes them extremely affordable (under $40 a carat). In recent years rhodolite, a mix of almandine and pyrope, has become increasingly popular and is found in light to dark pink to purplish red, even grape. Rare garnets as the green colored tsavorite, can cost several hundreds of dollars per cart.
Color is most important when determining the value of garnet. Lively, bright colors command higher prices than gems that are too light or dark. Better quality garnets are usually eye clean and very high clarity (not many inclusions) under magnification. Also watch out for synthetic imitations in lower priced jewelry.