Finding The Perfect Gemstone | ICKINGER Custom Jewelry
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December 2, 2019
Amethyst: The Royal Gemstone
Amethyst: The Royal Gemstone
February 6, 2020

History and Features of the Garnet Birthstone

Garnets, the January birthstone, are best known for their vibrant red colour.

However, they are more commonly found in red with an orange/brown hue. Its name comes from the Latin word “Garantus”, meaning “seed-like”, because of its striking resemblance to the pomegranate seed. Garnets have been used throughout the centuries as talismans and to create stunning pieces of bespoke jewellery. From Ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages, garnets have been around for over 5000 years.

The term garnet refers to a group of minerals that have similar physical characteristics but have a different chemical structure. Garnet gemstones almost always occur in blends, which is why they are found in such a wide array of colours.

Legend has it that wearing a garnet ensures a life of prosperity, good health and happiness. This makes it an ideal gift for a loved one, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it would be the perfect symbol of love and affection.

Types of Garnets

There are six main varieties of garnets:

    1. The Almandine, the most commonly found garnet, has a deep scarlet colour with an orange to brown tinge.

    2. The Andradite is the most lustrous of all garnets. There are three varieties - the rare Demantoid has a deep shade of green, while Melanite or black garnet is an opaque black and the Topazolite has a yellow colour while some varieties also include a brownish hue.

    3. Grossularite is made up of several varieties, each with unique features. The most common are Tsavorites, which has a deep shade of green that is similar to emeralds, and Hessonite has a distinct orange to orange-brown hue.

    4. The Pyrope has the signature scarlet colour associated with garnets. Their colour can range from a vibrant scarlet to violet. The Rhodolite, a blended species, is a mesmerising deep red with a violet hue.

    5. The Spessartine is the rarest and admired for its translucent lustre. Often called Garnet of the Sun or mandarin garnet, these gemstones can range from a pale yellow to a deep reddish-orange.

    6. Uvarovite is a soft garnet distinguishable by its emerald green hue. They form in small, uniform crystals making them extremely rare and valuable.

Choosing and Caring for your Garnet Gemstone

Things to consider when choosing your garnet

Choosing the perfect garnet will come down to your personal preference. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a garnet.

When opting for a larger sized variety, the colour and clarity are of utmost importance. The clarity will depend on the type of stone. There should be little to no inclusions visible to the naked eye as this will detract from the stone’s beauty. The only exception to this would be a Hessonite or Spessartine that has the coveted star shape inclusion called an asterism.

With smaller stones, it would be best to choose one that has been expertly cut to allow proper light refraction. This will result in a more lustrous and bright stone.

Due to their diminutive size, garnets are well-suited for delicate fine jewellery. They are not subjected to the strict classification standards of diamonds and are valued more for their colour than their clarity. Therefore, choose a colour that best appeals to you.

Cleaning and caring for your garnet

Custom made jewellery is created to last forever and with proper care and cleaning, your garnet will maintain its lustre indefinitely.
The safest way to clean a garnet is with a mild detergent diluted in warm water and a soft brush. Always remember to rinse it thoroughly after cleaning to ensure there isn’t a soap build-up. Air drying may leave unsightly marks so drying it with a soft cloth is recommended.

Ultrasonic cleaning is another safe cleaning method but is unnecessary and may damage the jewellery’s setting. It would be best to avoid extreme temperatures, and chemicals as it may affect the colour and durability of these gemstones.

Bespoke jewellery is a mark of precision craftsmanship and should be treated with the utmost of care. Garnets, like any other gemstone, should be stored properly to prevent damage. They should be stored in a cushioned jewellery box. We recommend that each piece is stored separately in its own compartment or in individual jewellery bags to prevent scratches.

Finding the perfect cut

Lapidary, or gem cutting, is the art of transforming raw crystals into elegant gemstones. Cutting a gemstone correctly is of utmost importance as it will reveal its colour, lustre and brilliance. With a recording of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohr scale, the garnet is a fairly hard stone making it durable and easier to cut. It also has good refractive properties so an expert cut will bring out its brilliance.

Most common cuts for fine jewellery

When choosing a cut, a major determining factor will be the medium in which the garnet is to be used. For a pendant necklace this Valentine’s Day, the appropriately shaped heart cut would be a great choice as it affords the gemstone a brilliant sparkle. The octagon cut would also be a good choice to highlight the garnet’s deep colour.

If your desired piece is a pair of earrings, the marquise cut offers the lightest reflection, maximising the gemstone’s colour and sparkle. A beautiful alternative would be a pear-shaped cut, which will display the stone’s colour dramatically.

The round cut works exceptionally well in a ring as it is the most efficient cut to display a garnet’s brilliance and sparkle.

If you are looking for a ring with a larger stone then the old mine cut would be better suited as it uses as much of the gem as possible to minimise waste while showcasing the stone’s brilliance and lustre.

For a more non-traditional ring, the oval cut offers the sparkle and brilliance of a round cut but in a more unique shape. The elongated shape also has the added advantage the it makes the stone appear larger than what it is.

Although these recommendations are a good starting point, the perfect cut will depend on your personal inclination. Since custom made jewellery is a delicate and intricate work of art, when in doubt, consult an expert. Please reach out to us at Ickinger as we have a team of professionals ready to offer support and guidance.

Choosing a metal for bespoke jewellery

The cut and colour of a gemstone is an important factor to consider when choosing a metal. While garnets generally work well with most metals, each metal highlights a different feature of a stone.

Gold has always been a great choice for fine jewellery since it is resistant to corrosion and rust. Its malleability and deep lustre makes it the perfect metal for jewellery making. Yellow gold is most commonly used but white and rose gold would be a great alternative to showcase your garnet stone.

Other metals include platinum, palladium and silver. Platinum is a stronger metal with a significantly higher price tag so it would be better suited for a rarer garnet such as a Spessartine. An exceptional alternative would be palladium which has the shine and durability of platinum, but is much lighter.

Best metals for garnet birthstones

While silver is a great metal to showcase a garnet’s lustre, yellow gold brings out the orange and brown tones of red garnets creating a vintage, almost regal feel.

Green garnets such as Uvarovite, Demantoid and Tsavorite pair really well with yellow gold, giving it an antique look. However, setting green garnets in a silver coloured metal like white gold will create a clean appearance, making the stone stand out in contrast.

The Spessartine’s orange hue would also be a great choice to use with yellow gold as it will showcase the gemstone’s warmth and vibrant colour. Silver coloured metals like white gold, stainless steel, palladium and platinum would work exceptionally well with all garnets.

Red garnets, such as Pyrope and Rhodolite, work best with silver metals and are highly recommended as the stark contrast highlights these gemstones’ brilliance perfectly. While not a conventional choice, rose gold would add a touch of warmth to your bespoke jewellery while giving the garnet a more updated look.

Choosing a metal to house your garnet gemstone, ultimately comes down to what suits your needs. Garnet gemstones are versatile and work really well with most types of metals.

Finding your perfect garnet with Ickinger

Ickinger has become synonymous with custom made jewellery and master craftsmanship. As always, we endeavour to create fine works art and not just commercial jewellery. Our team of experts are passionate about creating elegant jewellery and turn your dreams into reality.

We have a wide selection of gemstones to choose from. The garnet is popular in the gem trade as it offers an exquisite piece without the hefty price tag of diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. It is an exceptional choice of stone as they have good durability and lustre.

They are also more readily available and the wide selection of colours will give you several options to choose from. From blazing orange to regal purple and everything in between, Ickinger has a garnet to appeal to your personal tastes.

Garnets are versatile and pair really well with most metals. When choosing your next garnet gemstone, remember to check the clarity and ensure that the cut allows light to be reflected evenly throughout the stone. But most importantly, choose a stone that speaks to you and appeals to your personality.

A garnet would be an amazing Valentine’s Day gift for your partner as it would be an endearing symbol love and affection. A perfectly cut garnet will sparkle with brilliance and is sure to dazzle your significant other.

Please feel free to browse our store to find the perfect bespoke jewellery that suits your needs.

We pride ourselves on creating fine jewellery that lasts a lifetime. A custom piece of jewellery is more than just an accessory. It is an expression of yourself and the embodiment of your vision and desire. Our team of experts work tirelessly to ensure that each piece of jewellery is a work of excellent craftsmanship.

Each piece is created with meticulous care and attention to detail to ensure that are of the utmost quality. And we are dedicated to creating custom made jewellery that brings your vision to life. If you have any additional questions or need guidance on choosing your next piece of fine jewellery, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get in touch.