Helpful Stuff

Garnets can exhibit asterism

Garnets have been used in jewelry and for other decorative purposes for thousands of years, dating back as early as 3100 BC when Egyptians valued garnets as beads for pharaoh’s necklaces and buried them in tombs with mummies. Carved garnets adorned signet rings used to stamp wax seals in ancient Rome, and red garnets were popular among clergy and nobility in the Middle Ages from around 475 to 1450 AD. Around 1600, the beloved “Bohemian” pyrope garnets of Czechoslovakia gave garnet a boost of interest in Victorian and other jewelry that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. Slices of garnets have even been used in church windows. Today, orange (spessartite and hessonite) and green (demantoid and tsavorite) garnets have increased popularity (and increased availability) that is allowing them to join their red cousins in the jewelry marketplace beyond just being collector’s stones.

Garnets from some species possess phenomena that other garnets do not. Almandite and sometimes rhodolite garnets can exhibit asterism, displaying rare four-ray or even rarer six-ray stars. The andradite species can display chatoyancy (cat’s-eye) or iridescence, though both are very rare. Pyrope, or pyrope-spessartite mixes like Malaya, and select other garnets can possess color-change abilities. The grossular garnets exhibit no phenomena.

Depending on type, garnet hardness ranges from
6.5 to 7.5
on the Mohs scale

raw garnet

Perhaps the strongest virtue of the garnet, is its ability to help one overcome depression. The stone has been known to dissolve ingrained behavior patterns that are no longer positive, and bypasses resistance or self-induced unconscious sabotage. It aids in letting go of useless or old ideas. The stone revitalizes, purifies and balances energy, bringing serenity or passionate as appropriate. It removes inhibitions, taboos, anger and discord. It alleviates emotional disharmony, brings on a calming influence, and protects the wearer from being affected by the unwanted energy of others. It strengthens the survival instinct in a crisis, or in extremely traumatic situations, bringing courage and hope where it seems like there is no way out. All in all, the stone keeps depression at bay. It promotes self-confidence and allows one’s inner spirit to radiate.

Depending on type, garnet hardness ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. For example, almandine, pyrope, spessartine, and tsavorite are on the harder side while demantoid is a bit softer. Garnets have fair to good toughness, making them durable enough for all jewelry styles as long as they are treated with the proper care. Garnets should not be subjected to any hard blows or rough wear.


Warm soapy water is always safe for cleaning garnets.
The ultrasonic cleaner is usually safe except for stones that have fractures.
Steam cleaning is not recommended as stone can fracture when exposed to abrupt, extreme temperature changes.