History and General Information of Natural Almandine Garnet Gemstone | Almandite
The usage of the natural almandine Garnet gemstone dates back to the Bronze Age where they were used as gemstones as well as ‘abrasives’ (a material used for shaping or finishing or polishing a work-piece by rubbing against it). The name garnet may have originated from the Latin word ‘granatus’ (grain) or Middle English equivalent ‘gemet’ (dark red). Among twenty species of garnet minerals only five to six are commonly used for jewelry making, and among them the almandine is one of the most commonly used garnet. It is also called as ‘almandite’. As ‘Alabanda’ in Asia Minor is one of the classic source of this Garnet, the name almandine may have originated from here. Historical studies indicate that almandine garnet was a popular gem. The value of these garnets are low because they are found in great abundance worldwide. The Hungarian Holy Crown is one of the oldest and most famous artifacts to be embellished with almandine garnets and is probably more than 1000 years old. The Biblical carbuncle is supposed to be a reference to the almandine, which may have been known by the former name.
Chemical composition of Almandine Garnet Gemstone
The chemical composition of the almandine garnet is Fe3Al2Si3O12, which indicates that it is a ferrous aluminum silicate.
Physical properties of Almandine Garnet Gemstone
These stones measure 7-7.5 on the Moh’s scale, having a specific gravity of 3.6 and a refractive index of 1.730-1.760. They are found in very large crystal formations. These stones have a vitreous luster and they are transparent and translucent. They do not show any cleavage and have a conchoidal fracture.
Color of Almandine Garnet Gemstone
The color of almandine garnet gemstone ranges from very dark brownish-red to violet-red. The stone is too dark to be used in jewelry, and for this reason, the underside of an almandine is generally hollowed so that at least some light can pass through. Some are so dark that they are almost black in color.
This stone looks its best when it is faceted in the brilliant cut style, as this reveals the true red color of the stone. If the gem is very dark as in case of almandine garnet, it is cut in ‘carbuncle-cut’ which is round from the top and hollow from the bottom. Light colored stones can be cut in any fancy shape.
Almandine garnet can be found in any size, from the smallest to the largest varieties, and are easily available.
Clarity or purity
Almandine may have heavy inclusions and in such cases the stone is cut in the cabochon style.
Price of Almandine Garnet Gemstone
The prices of garnet varies from US$ 0.50 per carat to US$ 20 per carat. The price depends upon the color, clarity and luster of the gemstone. Though stones of higher carat which have super luster and amazing color can command very high prices.
Many rock types contain almandine crystal deposits. These gemstones are found in many countries like Burma (Myanmar), Madagascar, USA, Zambia, Tanzania, Brazil, Mozambique, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka.
The simulant of almandine garnet as well as Pyrope Garnet are almost same - tourmaline, spinel, ruby, any other reddish garnet and synthetic paste.
Interesting Trivia and Other Important Facts of Almandine Garnet
People born in the month of January wear these gemstones for good luck. The almandine garnet gemstone is used in healing for its regenerative qualities and its capacity to make a person energetic and vibrant. Wearing an Almandine makes a person charitable and compassionate. It is also used to treat eye and heart disorders, as well as the liver and pancreas.
Almandine garnets are found embedded in mica-schist or gneiss. They sometimes have asbestos fiber especially those, which are found in Idaho and India. When properly cut these produce high and rare quality stones which are highly prized by collectors. Almandine is found with Pyrope Garnet together as one crystal as they have almost similar chemical composition. Thus they form “Pyralspite” which is a combination of pyrope-almandine-spesserite. Sometimes it is called “Umbalite.”
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