It’s about time we nerd out with some gem knowledge. I mean, how else are we to start this year off right? Let’s talk birthstones for the month of January (Photo Source: Chip Clark, courtesy Smithsonian Institution).
1) Garnets date far, far back into history as they once, as best stated by GIA, “adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs, and were entombed with their mummified corpses as prized possessions for the afterlife.” There’s no doubt you’ll feel just like royalty with one of these babies.
2) Of not only prize but also practicality, they were even used to stamp the wax that sealed documents of importance atop signet rings in ancient Roman days. Translation: it won’t get in the way of your being able to multi-task, surely!
3) Garnets come in a rich palette of colors, never limited in variety. You’ll find they are abundant in almost all the colors of the rainbow, some even a combination of two, but the most highly regarded above others is the red garnet (Photo Courtesy GIA).
4) From finding its place among the world’s most widely traded gems and favored by those of nobility, the red garnet has since increased in availability and is to this day “one of the most common and widespread of gems” (GIA). Various places around the world carry deep garnet deposits that make this so. See map here.
5) In their natural crystal form, each garnet is composed of minerals closely related to one another. And although they may look physically the same, garnet to garnet vary chemically. This proposes a challenge to gemologists to figure out exactly what kind of garnet species (of a commercial six) each belongs to. And boy, oh boy, we here at F&B love our challenges!
6) Some rarer types of garnet include demantoid (green), tsavorite (green; often seen in the work of Cartier), spessartine (orange), and rhodolite (purple-red).
Fun facts: Tsavorite, just like the red garnet, can be found in rocks that were previously altered by heat and pressure rendering them metamorphic. On the contrary, tsavorite is of rarer quality because of its requirement of special conditions and chemical composition to form. Horsetail inclusions and high dispersion are characteristics of demantoid that increasingly add to their visual appeal (more fire, more brilliance!) as well as value.
However you decide to wear it, you can count on garnet stones to compliment your #ootd’s with a balanced helping of color and class. We always enjoy learning along with you on your journey to find your ideal stone; until next time!