January Garnet

Did you hear about the ant and the garnet?! The most fascinating garnets are the incredible Anthill Garnets. These garnets come from the Native American Navajo Reservation in Arizona, and are not mined, but gathered! The red ants on this reservation bring them up in their ant hills! The Navajo people go out and rake the desert, once or twice a year, after the snow in the spring the snow melts and washes the dust and dirt off these special garnets! Then the people from Navajo Reservation spend time mindfully gathering the garnets that have been brought to the surface, respecting the earth that have provided these gemstones. These are generally small garnets, small enough for the ants to bring them to the surface.

What a beautiful story!

The History of Garnet

Garnet is an incredibly durable gemstone, and pieces of garnet jewellery have been found from the Bronze Age.  Egyptians also used to use garnet as inlays in their jewellery and carvings, believing that garnet was the symbol of life.  Garnet was also very popular with the Romans in the 3rd and 4th Centuries, frequently being used to decorate sword hilts and gold jewellery.  

During Victorian times people loved gemstones, and the one that completely stole the hearts of the Victorian era was the garnet.  It wasn’t uncommon for Victorians to make doublets out of garnet and glass.  A doublet was the practice of fusing together a piece of genuine garnet with a piece of glass to make the gemstone appear much bigger.    

The rare and valuable green demantoid garnets were prized by Russian Czars and the famous Russian jeweller Gustav Faberge often used them in his work.

Where are garnets found?

Garnets are one of the most widespread gemstones.  Found in multiple locations, but the highest quality garnets are found in East Africa, particularly Tanzania and Kenya.  In the 1990s a deposit of rare blue garnets were found in Madagascar.  Green garnets have been found in Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Pakistan and Antarctica.  

Garnets are often found near the Earth’s surface, within pebbles in riverbeds or deposited on beaches.  

Colour

Garnet is most well known for its deep red colour.   

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Garnet is actually the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colours, from the deep red of the Pyrope garnet to the vibrant greens of Tsavorites.

Some garnets have inclusions that add to the beauty of the stone, giving them a very distinctive look.  

Some Garnets have the ability to change colour!  Colour changing garnets have been found in Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania.  These incredible gemstones change colour depending on different light conditions.  They can appear blue in fluorescent light and turn into a deep red/purple in incandescent light.  

What do garnets signify?

Garnet is the stone of lasting friendship and can be a symbol of peace, health and deep friendship.  Spiritually it represents love and legend says wearing garnet can give you the strength you need to take charge of your life.  Helping the wearer release negative emotions and live a more peaceful and happy life.  

They are a great gift to give someone who has been a loyal friend.

Garnet jewellery

Garents can be cut to almost any shape or size, so lend themselves to any application in jewellery.  They are often set in gold to highlight their most commonly found deep red colour.  Cost of garnets varies depending on its size, cut, colour and clarity.  But garnets are less expensive than many other gemstones due to its abundance.  Garnets have a very high hardness and refractive index, which means they are very difficult to damage, making them a durable and eye catching gemstone to use in jewellery.

Garnet is also the gemstone for 2nd wedding anniversaries.

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