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When you picture a garnet, you probably envision a dark red gemstone. However January’s birthstone can actually be found in a variety of different colors. Most gemstone quality garnets can be classified as one or a mixture of these five different types.
Almandine is the most common type of garnet and can be found in various shades of red and brown. These gems are located worldwide, but some notable sources include Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Australia, and the United States. Some believe that this type of garnet can help alleviate worry, panic, and fear.
Pyrope is rarer, more transparent, and contains less flaws compared to almandine. These gems tend to feature the intense dark red color that most people associate with garnets. Similar to diamonds, the majority of pyrope garnets can be found in kimberlite pipes located in Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China, and the United States. Pyrope is believed to enhance productivity and performance without sacrificing integrity or quality.
Andradite is one of the rarest and most sought after type of garnet. There are no major sources of andralite in the world, but smaller deposits can be found in Italy, Russia, Afghanistan, and Iran. Most andradite gems are opaque and not fit for fine jewelry, which just enhances the surprise of finding one already set into a pendant, ring, or earring. There are three varieties of andradite. The green demantoid variety represents one of the most valuable and rare types of gemstones available. The other two varieties include the black colored melanite and the yellow-green colored topazolite. Andradite is believed to increase one’s strength, stability, and balance.
Grossular garnets come in every color except blue and are even sometimes found colorless. Some notable varieties of this type of garnet include green tsavorite and the orange-brown hessonite. Grossular deposits can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Italy, Russia, Canada, and the United States. This type of garnet is believed to reduce emotional extremes and encourage social growth.
Spessartine is one of the lesser known and rarer varieties of garnet. These gems can be found in various shades of red and orange. The ones that feature a bright orange color are commonly known as Mandarin garnets. Until the 1900s, spessartine garnets weren’t often used in jewelry. The discovery of spessartine deposits in Namibia and Mozambique changed that. Some other known sources of spessartine include Tanzania, Nigeria, Brazil, Italy, and California. Some believe that spessartine helps one become analytical, fearless, and confident.