The word "garnet" comes from the Latin "granus" meaning "grain", in reference to the somewhat rounded shape of its crystals, but also to the seeds of a ripe pomegranate. It took many discoveries before garnet became associated not just with the color red, but with a multitude of colors.

It's a group of minerals with multiple colors


In most people's minds, garnet is simply a red stone. That's without taking into account the range of colors that this family of gems makes available to us! Like sapphire and tourmaline, garnet can take on many different shades of light. This group has many species, including many varieties... It's a large family, whose common feature is that each of its members has an identical crystalline structure. It's their varied chemical compositions that give us a bevy of color combinations!

Philippe Tournaire likes to sublimate these gifts of nature, for example by placing a reddish-purple garnet called rhodolite as the central stone at the heart of a unique creation, or by completing a color harmony with small calibers of bright green garnets called tsavorites. The range of garnet charms is vast: from crimson to orange-red, pink to brown-tinted red, orange-yellow to bright green, emerald-green...there's something for every taste and every budget! And, as in any large family, each one has its own distinctive characteristics, born of its own history, but all based on the same foundations!

Garnets: a group, species and varieties

All garnets share the same crystalline structure, i.e. their crystals are cubic in the rough, with a slightly rounded appearance. Only their chemical composition differs somewhat, depending on species and variety. Their hardness ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the hardness of diamond. Of more than twenty species, 5 are considered the best-known on the market: pyrope, almandine, spessartite, grossular and andradite. One of the peculiarities of garnets is that many are actually the result of a mixture of 2 or more species. For example, rhodolite garnet (a dark red to raspberry-red variety tinged with purple) is the result of a combination of pyrope and almandine, as are most red garnets.

The same goes for Malaya garnet (orange-red fire variety), a cross between pyrope and spessartite with a small dose of almandine...

Unlike more famous gems such as emerald, garnet requires no special treatment and is often devoid of inclusions that might detract from its beauty. In fact, garnet has often been used as a substitute for a more expensive stone or one that requires human intervention to reveal its light. A red garnet can turn out to be just as beautiful as a ruby, just as a green garnet can boast even more brilliance and brilliance than an emerald, without having been treated. The abundance of garnets and their diversity of colors are also a major asset, and a key element in their success with a wide public, gained over time.

The origins of a colorful family

The word " garnet" comes from the Latin "granus" meaning "grain", in reference to the somewhat rounded shape of its crystals, but also to the seeds of a ripe pomegranate. It took many discoveries and decades before garnet came to be associated not only with the color red, but also with a multitude of colors, each more vibrant than the last. Legend has it that Noah used a garnet lantern to light his night-time navigation on the Ark. This gem is considered very luminous when its color is vivid.
Garnets have always been appreciated by the world's great and good. Set in the finery of sovereigns, garnet enabled its wearer to testify to his success and wealth. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly known as an escarbuncle.

In those days, the clergy and nobility were particularly fond of this red garnet. Deposits of Bohemian garnet from Central Europe discovered around 1500 enabled red garnet to reach its apogee in the world of Jewellery until the end of the 18th century.
It then became one of the most widespread gems in the four corners of the globe, as other sites were discovered. Among red garnets, the most popular and used at Jewellery is rhodolite garnet. In addition to the famous red, there are the brilliant greens of tsavorite and demantoid, the intense orange of spessartite, the purple and violet reds of pyrope and almandine, among many other garnets... french kiss Pink Gold and garnet.


Rhodolite is a silicate of aluminum, iron and magnesium. Its name comes from the Greekrhodonforroseandlithosfor stone. First discovered in North Carolina, USA, in the 1880s, rhodolite is a mixture of 2 species: pyrope and almandine. Its color can be described as purple-tinted red or raspberry-red, and is sometimes predominantly purple. It appears in a wide range of calibres and is a great success with jewellery designers such as Philippe Tournaire . Its main current sources are Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The pyrope

Pyrope is an aluminum-magnesium silicate. From the Greek "pyropos" for "fiery eyes, an ember-like gaze" due to its incandescent red color. Its color generally ranges from intense orange-red with brown undertones to crimson-tinged red. Widely used in Jewellery during the era of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), this garnet is now highly prized by collectors of antique Jewellery . It is sometimes called "Bohemian garnet", in reference to an important ancient source. The most important deposits today are in South Africa and the USA.

The almandine

Alabandus is an aluminum-iron silicate. A red garnet oscillating between orange-red and violet-red, it owes its name to the Asia Minor town of Alabandus. By 3100 B.C., the Egyptians were using almandine in jewelry inlays or working it into garnet beads. The main sources are Brazil, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States.


Spessartite is a silicate of aluminum and manganese. The colors of this species range from orange to brown-tinged red, through orange with a hint of yellow or intense red, with sparkling orange being the most prized spessartite color.

This garnet takes its name from its formerly important source: Spessart, in Bavaria. The largest deposits are now found in Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Namibia, the USA and Sri Lanka. One of the most famous garnets at Jewellery 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 highly prized when dressed in bright orange. Its sources are Tanzania and Kenya. Solitaire village round red garnet.


Tsavorite belongs to the grossular species and is in fact a silicate of aluminum and calcium, combined with vanadium, which gives it its vivid color. This intense, sparkling green gem, sometimes tinged with yellow, owes its name to Tsavo Park, Kenya's national park, where it was discovered in the 1970s. Most tsavorites are small-grained, and its scarcity makes it less abundant than many garnets. As with Malaya garnet, its main sources are Kenya and Tanzania.

The demantoid

Demantoid is a variety of the andradite species. It is a calcium-iron silicate. It owes its vibrant green color to the combination of chromium and iron. Its name means "like a diamond" in Dutch, in reference to its adamantine brilliance. Its color ranges from green to yellow-tinted green, with varying degrees of nuance. What's remarkable and rare about this garnet is the beauty of its inclusions, which are uniquely its own and can positively influence its value.

These typical inclusions are known as "ponytails", i.e. crystal fibers that radiate out from a central point (like a bale of straw, a ponytail or a comet). However, not all demantoids automatically reveal these unique inclusions under the microscope, depending on where they come from. It's very common, for example, to see these inclusions in demantoids from Russia. In fact, it was in 1868 that this highly prized garnet was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Since then, demantoids have adorned the finest jewelry sets from Jewellery Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian (1900-1915).

The Russian jeweler Fabergé drew much inspiration from them, creating sumptuous pieces for the Russian royal family. Today, the main sources of demantoids are Namibia, Russia and Zaire. Many more varieties and species of garnet exist: nature has not finished dazzling our eyes and arousing our curiosity with these gem treasures! The stone of the month of January, a large group made up of species and varieties, garnet is one of the masterpieces of both ancient and contemporary Jewellery. Through his creations, Philippe Tournaire succeeds in magnifying the light that radiates from the varied colors of the large and beautiful garnet family. Let yourself be charmed by the shimmering greens of tsavorites and demantoids, the blazing reds of rhodolites, pyropes and almandines, or the brilliant oranges of spessartites and Malayas!

The Grenats will never cease to amaze you!

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