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The Garnets

The word "garnet" comes from the Latin "granus" meaning "grain", referring to the somewhat rounded shape of its crystals but also to the seeds of a well-ripe grenade. It took many discoveries before the garnet was not simply associated with the red color, but also with a multitude of colors.

It is a group of minerals with multiple colors

In the minds of every one, it is often observed that the garnet evokes purely and simply a red stone. It is without counting on the range of colors that this family of gems puts at our disposal !!! Indeed, like sapphire or tourmaline, garnet can wear many different clothes of light. This group has many species, in which there are many varieties ... This is a large family, whose common characteristic lies in the fact that each of its members are united by an identical crystalline structure. It is their varied chemical compositions that offer us a variety of color combinations! Philippe Tournaire likes to sublimate these gifts of nature by placing for example a red-purple garnet called rhodolite, as central stone at the heart of a unique creation, or by completing a harmony of colors with small calibres of bright green garnets called tsavorites. Vast is the extent of the charm of the garnets: from purple to red-orange, from pink to red tinged with brown to orange-yellow or bright green, emerald green ... There is something for everyone Tastes and all purses! And as in all large families, each one is distinguished by its characteristics born from its own course, while starting from the same foundations!

 Garnets: a group, species, varieties

All the garnets share the same crystal structure, namely that their crystals are cubic in the raw state, with a slightly rounded appearance. Only their chemical composition differs somewhat according to species and varieties. Their hardness oscillates between 6.5 and 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being that of the diamond. On more than twenty species, there are 5 major ones as being the best known on the market: pyrope, almandin, spessartite, grossular and andradite. One of the peculiarities of garnets comes from the fact that many of them actually constitute the fruit of a mixture of two or more species. Thus rhodolite garnet (a dark red to raspberry-tinged purple color) was born from the association of pyrope and almandin, in the same way as most red garnets. The same is true for Malaya garnet (orange-red fire), cross between pyrope and spessartite with a small dose of almandin...

Unlike more famous gems such as emerald, garnet does not require special treatment and is often devoid of inclusions that could go against its beauty. Moreover, many times garnet has been used as a substitute for a more expensive stone or requiring the intervention of man to reveal its light. A red garnet can be just as beautiful as a ruby, just as a green garnet can boast of being even sharper and brighter than an emerald without being treated. The abundance of garnets and their diversity of colors is also a major asset and a key element of their success with a large audience, gained over time.

The origins of a colorful family

The word "garnet" comes from the Latin "granus" meaning "grain", referring to the somewhat rounded shape of its crystals but also to the seeds of a well-ripe grenade. It took many discoveries and decades before the garnet was not simply associated with the red color, but also with a multitude of more vibrant colors than the others. According to legend, Noah used a garnet lantern to illuminate his night-time navigation on the Ark. This gem is considered very bright when its color is bright..

Since always the garnet is appreciated by the great ones of this world. Set in the ornaments of sovereigns, the garnet allowed his bearer to testify to his success, his wealth. In the Middle Ages it was commonly called the carbuncle. At that time the clergy and the nobility were particularly fond of this red garnet. The deposits of Bohemian garnets from Central Europe discovered around 1500 enabled the red garnet to reach its peak in the world of jewelry until the end of the 18th century.

It later became one of the most widespread gems in the four corners of the globe, as it was discovered at other sites. Among the red garnets, the most appreciated and used in jewelry is the garnet rhodolite. In addition to the famous red, there are the brilliant greens of the tsavorite and the demantoid, the intense orange of the spessartite, the purple reds, purples of the pyrope and the almandin, among many other garnets. garnet.


Rhodolite is a silicate of aluminum, iron and magnesium. Its name comes from the Greek "rhodon" for "rose" and "lithos" for stone. Discovered for the first time in North Carolina in the United States in the 1880s, rhodolite is a variety born from a mixture of 2 species: pyrope and almandin. Its color can be described as red tinged with purple or red-raspberry and is also sometimes predominantly purple. She appears in a wide range of calibres and is very successful with jewelery designers such as Philippe Tournaire. Its main current sources are Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The Pyrope

Pyrope is an aluminum and magnesium silicate. From the Greek "pyropos" for "ardent eyes, a glare of ember" because of its red glowing. Its color varies in general between the intense orange-red shaded brown and the red tinged with purple. Very used in jewelery during the era of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), this garnet is now highly appreciated by collectors of antique jewelry. It is sometimes called "garnet of Bohemia", with reference to an ancient important source. The most important deposits are now found in South Africa and the United States.

The almandine

Almandin is an aluminum and iron silicate. Red garnet oscillating between red-orange and red pulling on purple, it owes its name to the city of Asia Minor called Alabandus. In 3100 BC, the Egyptians used almandin in jewelery inlay or worked it to make garnet beads. The main sources are Brazil, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States.

The spessartite

The spessartite is an aluminum silicate and manganese. The colors of this species range from orange to red tinged with brown, not passing an orange with a point of yellow or intense red, sparkling orange being the most prized spessartite color.

This garnet takes its name from its former once important source: Spessart, in Bavaria. The largest deposits are now found in Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Namibia, the United States and Sri Lanka. One of the famous garnets in jewelry is Malaya garnet, a mixture of pyrope and spessartite. Ranging from orange tinged with yellow, pink or more or less pronounced red, this gem was discovered in East Africa in the 1960s. It is coveted when it is dressed in bright orange. Its sources are Tanzania and Kenya. Solitaire round red garnet village.

The tsavorite

Tsavorite is part of the grossular species and is in fact an aluminum and calcium silicate associated with the vanadium which gives it its color so vivid. This sparkling, intense green gem, sometimes yellow in color, was named after Tsavo Park, Kenya National Park, where it was discovered in the 1970s. Most of the tsavorites are small in size and have few deposits Make it less abundant than many garnets. Its main sources are as for Malaya garnet, Kenya and Tanzania.

The demantoid

The demantoid is a variety of the species of andradites. It is a silicate of calcium and iron. It owes its vibrant green to the combination of chrome and iron. Its name means "like a diamond" in Dutch, in reference to its adamantine luster. Its color ranges from green to green tinged with yellow, with shades more or less pronounced. What is remarkable and rare in this garnet is the beauty of its inclusions which belong only to it and which can positively influence its value..

These typical inclusions are called "ponytails": they are crystal fibers starting from a central point and then irradiating (like a bunch of straw, a ponytail or a comet). However, not all demantoids automatically disclose these inclusions so unique under the microscope, everything depends on their origin. It is very common for example to see these inclusions in the Russian demantoids. It was also in 1868 that this garnet so much prized was discovered in the mountains of the Urals in Russia. From then on the demantoid adorned the finest jewels of Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian (1900-1915) jewelry.

The Russian jeweler Fabergé was very inspired by creating sumptuous pieces for the royal family of Russia. Today the main sources of demantoids are Namibia, Russia and Zaire. Still many other varieties and species of garnets exist: nature has not finished dazzling our eyes and arousing our curiosity with these treasures of gems! Stone of the month of January, a large group of species and varieties, garnet is one of the centerpieces of both antique and contemporary jewelry. Through his creations, Philippe Tournaire manages to magnify this light that radiates the varied colors of the beautiful and large family of garnet. Let yourself be charmed by the shimmering greens of tsavorites and demantoids, by the flamboyant reds of rhodolites, pyropes and almandines, or by the brilliant oranges of the spessartites, the Malayas!

The garnets will not cease to amaze you!

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