Garnets are a group that includes a number of different minerals, so appearance can vary widely. The number of varieties can be overwhelming. It helps to think of garnet varieties in terms of color.
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What To Look For
Pyrope and almandine range in color from purple to orangy red. Spessartine is a variety of orange colors, while andradite comes in yellow to green. Grossular has a wide color range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, to a strong, vibrant green.
Typical garnet clarity depends on garnet type. For example, the red garnets almandine, pyrope, and rhodolite typically do not have eye-visible inclusions. Some of the orange garnets, like spessartine and hessonite, often have eye-visible inclusions.
Many garnets are cut into standard shapes and standard sizes to allow easy setting into jewelry. This is especially true of many red garnets. Expensive garnets like fine-quality tsavorite are cut into shapes and cutting styles that allow more of the weight to be retained from the rough.
Garnets can be found in all sizes and weights. Some garnets, like demantoid and tsavorite, are more rare in large sizes, so their value goes up significantly with size. Other garnets, like almandine, are far more common in larger sizes so there’s no dramatic rise in value as size increases.
Garnet Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide
Tips & Advice
1. Find a retailer that can show you a variety of garnets.
To appreciate the rainbow of garnets available, you have to see them. Find a retailer who can show you tsavorite, rhodolite, and one of the orange garnets. You’ll be surprised at how beautiful fine garnet can be.
2. Consider unusual colors like purplish pinks.
Garnets come in some unusual variations in hue and tone which sometimes categorizes them in between known varieties. These gems can offer good value and are interesting as well as beautiful.
3. Don’t compromise on cut.
The quality of the cut can make a big difference in beauty and brilliance. Your garnet should sparkle in a lively way, reflecting light back evenly across the entire gem. Poorly cut gems are much less marketable and sell at a discount.
4. When in doubt, get a lab report.
For a significant purchase, an independent laboratory report can confirm that the garnet you are buying is what the seller says it is.