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Garnet Facts and Care

hand set garnet in a cast silver ring   Gorgeous, glittering garnet jewelry!   hand set sterling silver and garnet cabochon ring with six garnet accents

Garnet Information

Garnet has been used as a gemstone for more than 5,000 years. Garnet is the January birthstone. It is faceted, cut into cabochons and made into beads, so it is a very common gemstone with many jewelry uses! It even has industrial uses, mostly as an abrasive made into emery cloth - used for fine wood finishing and many other applications.

Garnet comes in many varieties and colors, all of which are similar in crystal structure and physical characteristics. They are all silicate minerals. Their differences in chemical composition give them some different properties and also different colors. Garnet occurs in many colors, from bright yellow to black!

The most familiar shade is a deep, rich wine red color, but garnets can be a bright raspberry color (rhodolite), orange garnet and silver earrings(hessonite) and even green - like beautiful, bright green tsavorite - and sparkling demantoid garnet, which is more fiery than diamond and can be more expensive as well!

The most commonly found and popular garnet types are almandine and pyrope, but lesser known and more rare varieties are spessartine, uvarovite, hessonite and andradite.

Many people believe that garnet has influence over love, popularity, success and creativity.

Most garnets commonly used in jewelry are fairly hard stones at 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 on the Mohs hardness scale, and are very easy to care for.

Garnet Care Tips

Gold or silver jewelry set with garnets can be cleaned in commercially available jewelry cleaning solutions.garnet and marcasite ring

Natural garnet bead jewelry can be washed with mild dish soap and warm water. However, many garnet beads are dyed to deepen the red color and also to help make the beads more evenly red. Its a good idea to be cautious.

You should test the garnet at one end for dye first by rubbing it with a damp paper towel; if it is dyed, it should stain the towel. If the garnet is dyed, some will come off if you decide to wash your jewelry.

If your garnet jewelry is made with natural stone beads or gemstones and you decide to go ahead with washing, mild dishwashing detergent and warm water with an old toothbrush will do a good cleaning job. After washing and drying ..

Polish your garnet jewelry with a rouge jewelry polishing cloth for great results.

As with most gemstones, minimizing stress is a good idea. Stones can have internal cracks and flaws that may be affected by the heat of a steam cleaning machine; ultrasonic cleaners are not recommended.  The vibrations caused by ultrasonic waves are great for cleaning metal jewelry but they can weaken gemstones with internal fissures.

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