Monday, January 4, 2010

GEMSTONE OF THE MONTH | GARNET

Like many gemstones, the garnet has a fossil-like existence. Cultivated by heat and pressure the minerals quietly take form within the earth.

To my surprise, garnets are composites of two or more variations of minerals that include almandine, grossularite, spessartite, andradite, pyrope, and tsavorite.

Consequently, the variations provide garnet with a range of hues from the popular red pyrope to colorless grossularite to tsavorite green and even a blue-green variation found in Africa.

Due to the garnet's large variety of colors, the gemstone has often been mistaken for other gemstones. Mined around the world, the varieties of garnet are found in Brazil, India, Kenya, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States.

Garnet is a highly durable gemstone with nearly flawless clarity and was widely popular among the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.

During ancient eras, the stones were fashioned into protective amulets, as they were believed to ward against evil. According to legend, the biblical patriarch Noah used a lantern made of garnet as a safeguard to steer the Ark at night.

Aside from its use as a protective talisman, many believe the garnet to hold healing powers that sooth depression, arthritic and pancreatic problems, as well as stabilize heart rates.

One of the world's most famous garnets is a cabochon flower brooch once owned by Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis. One of the largest grossularite garnet minerals is located at Vermont's Eden Mill Nature Center measuring three-eighth inches across.
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Photo 1 (top right): Red Rhodolite Garnet
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