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Almandine Garnet

Almandine Garnet, sometimes referred to as almandite garnet, belongs to the very vast and popular mineral group of garnet. Almandine is the most common of all garnet varieties. Although there are very large amounts of almandine sourced from all over the world, only a small percentage of the stones mined are of gem quality. Most almandine stones are opaque and rough and are only able to be used for industrial purposes. Garnet stones are often used for sandblasting in the Industrial trade.

The word 'Garnet' is derived from the Latin word "granatus", which means grain, because many garnet deposits are small grains of red crystals in or on their host rock. The specific name of almandine originates from the name alabandicus which is named after a stone found in the small town of Alabanda, located in Caria, the second smallest province of Asia Minor. Almandine occurs in a range of reds from dark brownish to purplish red and is a very popular gem choice for jewelers due to the excellent hardness (7.5 on the Mohs scale) and brilliance resulting from its high refractive index. Almandine garnet is often cut en cabochon with convex faces, and these specimens are sometimes referred to as carbuncle. Carbuncle is an old term used to describe any type of red gemstone cabochon. Red gemstones cabochons have historically been used as friendship gems. Garnet is also January's birthstone.

Identifying Almandine Garnet

Almandine garnet in appearance can be difficult to distinguish between other garnet types, as well as other red stones. Almandine garnet will typically have darker tones compared to other red gems, but top quality specimens do have red colors similar to that of ruby. A strong neodymium magnet will be able help distinguish garnet from other gemstones. Measuring a stone's magnetic susceptibility in collaboration with its refractive index can be used to distinguish specific garnet species and varieties, and it can also determine the percentage of composition in hybrid variety garnets.

Almandine Garnet Origin and Gemstone Sources

Almandine Garnet stones can be found in many origins and sources including Brazil, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and the United States. Smaller deposits exist in Austria and the Czech Republic. Almandine garnet star gemstones are found in India and the United States. Idaho is known to be a very large source for star garnet gems. Amandine found in Sri Lanka is sometimes referred to as Ceylon-Ruby.


Almandine Garnet Color

Almandine garnet colors can range from pure red, reddish orange, slightly purplish red to dark brownish red. The unique deep red color of almandine is a direct result from the presence of iron.

Almandine garnet with pure, deep red colors are the most desirable and valuable of almandine stones.

Almandine Garnet Clarity and Luster

Almandine garnet has a vitreous luster. Gem quality almandine garnet is translucent, but depending on the cut, some stones may appear to be more translucent to opaque. Most almandine garnet rough is opaque and not considered to be of gem quality. These specimens are typically used for various industrial uses.

Almandine Garnet Cut and Shape

There are abundant amounts of very large sized almandine garnet crystals, but because of their dark tones, only small to medium sized gems are faceted. When faceted, they are often cut slightly shallow to allow light to pass through them. Some garnet stones when cut en cabochon can display an asterism effect; these are referred to as Star Garnets. Almandine garnet can be found in a wide variety of shapes and cut styles including round, oval, pear, heart and trillion facet or cabochon stones.

Almandine Garnet Treatment

Like most garnets stones, Almandine Garnet is not treated or artificially enhanced in any way.

The excellent hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale and absence of cleavage makes almadine garnet a very durable gem. 

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