Humans discovered the beauty of garnets long ago. Garnet beads have been found in prehistoric graves. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used garnets in jewelry. During medieval times, garnet became known as the warrior stone. Soldiers carried it with them to ward off death and injury.
Today garnet is best known as the birthstone for January. The image of a brilliant, deep red stone may come to mind when you think of garnet. But red is not garnet’s only colour. It can also be yellow, brown, orange or green. In fact, garnets come in all colours except for blue.
The familiar deep red stones that many of us readily identify as garnets are pyrope garnets and almandite garnets. But if you prefer earthy tones from light golden honey to cognac to deep maple, hessonite garnet may be the stone for you. Spessartite can be found in beautiful shades of yellow, fiery orange, red and reddish browns. If green is more to your liking, perhaps hydrogrossular garnet (which is sometimes called Transvaal jade), tsavorite garnet or demantoid garnet would suit. Demantoid garnet, originally found only in Russia, was favoured by Carl Fabergé. Although demantoid garnet is now also found in Namibia, it remains the rarest and most expensive of the garnets.
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