Not Just a Garnet

Garnets are a wonderful gemstone and available to all because they range in price from a few  to many thousands of pounds, so anyone born in January can avail themselves of this beautiful gemstone.

When you say ‘Garnet’ to most people they think of a deep red stone but they come in many colours.

The deep red stones have some wonderful stories about them. In the USA some pyrope Garnets are mined by termites! Whilst the termites are excavating their mounds they bring up tiny Garnet crystals. Furthermore these are an indicator that there may be a Diamond bearing kimberlite pipe and one of the inclusions found in Diamonds are Garnets.

A very famous Garnet Crystal was found in New York when a sewer was being dug out which was later named as the ‘Subway Garnet’  (what a difference a name makes!). It's a huge dodecahedron and weighs 9lbs and 10oz.

The most rare and beautiful Garnets are green.  There is a very famous mine in Kenya called the Scorpion mine from which beautiful, vivid green Tsavorites come from.  One of the interesting problems with this mine is a huge bull Elephant visits it and if not discouraged, will drink the entire water tank in one go!

In 1853 a green Garnet was discovered in the Ural Mountains called Demantoid.  These are exceptional stones and the very bright intense greens are usually only found in antique jewellery such as these stones in this Belle Epoque butterfly.  The majority of these garnets are small and were used to highlight pieces of jewellery and so are seen used down the backs of Lizards.

In 2016 a new colour of Garnet appeared on the market a beautiful deep purple colour from Mozambique.  Some of them have wonderful deep velvet like colour.  Purple is a colour steeped in tradition because it was such a difficult colour to obtain. It was reserved for royalty or the Church, Bishops to this day wear rings with Amethysts. Unfortunately the main source for this Garnet is Mozambique in the Manica province, near to the Zimbabwe border, which is now under control of Mozambican National Resistance, an armed rebel group, so there are few coming out.

Last but by no means least are the orange Garnets. In the 1990 a source of the brightest orange Garnets was found in Namibia, these bright orange Spessartites  should not be confused with Hessonites a brownish orange garnet which is said to have healing properties. Spessartites were later found in Tanzania and Nigeria.

Please do not dismiss this wonderful group of gemstones as ‘cheap and cheerful’.  They are durable so make good ring stones, some are very rare and the saturation of colour wonderful.

Gemstone specialist GF Williams supplies a huge range of high quality coloured gemstones and is an expert and experienced gemstone supplier to designers, manufacturers, collectors and private clients.

Find out more about how GF Williams can fulfil your gemstone requirements by browsing our online gemstone catalogue or contacting our friendly team of gemstone experts on +44 (0) 207 405 5477 or email