For most people, when they think of January’s birthstone, they think of a deep red gemstone. But did you know that garnet can also be found in shades of yellow, orange, and even green?
In fact, the garnet family is comprised of various minerals representing almost every color of the rainbow. One of the more common garnets is Almandite, which appears reddish orange to red or slightly purplish red to reddish purple. Garnets in the green and yellow color range are usually composed of the mineral Andradite. Spessartite, or Spessartine, produces a lively shade of orange and is one of the more difficult variations to find.
Other garnet minerals include Rhodolite (light to dark purplish red through reddish purple), Pyrope (red), Malaya (orange), and Grossularite, which may be light to dark green (aka Tsavorite), light to dark yellow to reddish orange, and there’s even a rare colorless variety.
Garnet is not the hardest of gemstones, so the safest way to care for a garnet is to clean it with warm and soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe unless the garnet has inclusions.
Steam cleaning this gemstone is risky and not advised.
Read up on the various roles garnet has played throughout history.