Demantoid Garnet, A Green Variety of January’s Birthstone

First discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1860’s, demantoid garnet soon became a sought after gem of European aristocracy. This green gem was set in jewelry of every type, from simple Victorian rings to ornate lavalier pendants. For years it was a favored treasure, until, eventually, the mines became depleted. While this scarcity meant that the demantoid garnet declined in popularity, it increased the value of the gem, making it a collector’s item!

In more recent times, demantoid garnets have been found in other places, and is mined in Italy, Iran, Namibia and Madagascar. Still rare, this amazing gem continues to evoke images of Victorian era Europe, fancy dress balls, and the luxurious parlors of royalty.

Q&A:

Why is demantoid garnet green? I thought all garnets were red!
Garnets come in a variety of colors, although the rarest is by far green! This rich color is caused by the presence of certain minerals during the formation of the stone. Demantoid garnets from Russia, Italy and Iran can also contain ‘horsetail’ inclusions. These inclusions look like a spray of fine filaments, or like a horse’s tail! Stones with these inclusions are prized by collectors.


An example of horsetail inclusions in a demantoid garnet from the Gemological Institute of America 

My birthday is in January. Can I use this as a birthstone ring?
Absolutely! The traditional birthstones suggested for each month are based on gems themselves, not their color! If you prefer green garnets to red (and you wouldn’t be alone!) then demantoid garnets are the perfect birthstone for you!

Can I use demantoid garnets for my engagement ring?
Yes, you can! The rarity and beauty of demantoid garnets make it a nice alternative to a diamond for an engagement ring. There’s a few things you should know, though, before you make the decision. A demantoid garnet is very rare in large sizes, so you will likely be looking at stones that are much smaller in weight. Demantoid is not as hard as diamond, like all garnets it rates between a 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means it should be worn carefully, and removed when doing house work, working outside, or in any situation where it may be abraded or scratched.

 

View our Collection of Demantoid Garnets, here!

 

References: 
1. https://www.gia.edu/garnet-quality-factor

 

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