Garnet is the birthstone for January. Garnet is most commonly associated with the color red, but it is found in an extraordinary range of colors including orange, yellow, purple and green. There are even garnets that change color in different lighting. It is mined around the world and symbolizes many different positive emotions, good health and wealth.
The garnet family is one of the most complex in the gem world. It’s not a single species but rather consists of several species and varieties. Garnets have a hardness ranging from 6.5 – 7.5. Garnets are a set of closely related minerals forming a group, with gemstones in almost every color.
Pyrope and almandine range from purple to orangy red. Spessartine is found in oranges and yellows, while andradite is mostly yellow to green (the gem variety demantoid). Grossular may have the widest range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, as well as a strong vibrant green called tsavorite.
The number of varieties can be overwhelming. It helps to think of garnet varieties in terms of color. Almandine is one of the most popular garnet species. Almandine-pyrope is a dark red variety that is commonly found in affordable and durable gemstone jewelry. Demantoid is a brilliant green variety of andradite that’s highly prized by collectors. Both tsavorite and hessonite are varieties of grossular. Tsavorites are green, while hessonite ranges from orange and orangy red to brownish red. Rhodolite is a purplish red variety.