Saturday, June 5, 2010

Almandite Garnet

Almandite Garnet

Birthstone Month:
Garnet is associated with the birthstone month of January.

Garnet is associated with the zodiac sign Aquarius.

Chemical Symbol:

Chemical Make-up:
Almandite is an Iron Aluminum Silicate. Color is determined by traces of Magnesium and Ferric Acid.

History & Lore:
The name Garnet comes from the Latin word granatium which means “pomegranate”. Many believe that Garnet was likened to the the pomegranate because its coloration is similar to that of the seeds of the fruit.

The name Almandite, sometimes referred to as Almandine, derives from a region in Asia Minor known as Alabanda, where the stone was cut and polished in ancient times. It is also known as Carbuncle, meaning “little spark” in Latin. Carbuncle was a term originally used for any gemstone displaying a strong red color.

Garnets are said to be the stone of romantic love and passion, enhancing sensuality, sexuality, and intimacy. It is said to awaken creativity, positive energy, and self-confidence, and can bring success to one's career or business. Garnets have been thought to treat infectious diseases, blood poisoning, and heart and lung diseases. It is also a protective stone which is effective for protection from evil and nightmares and one that can be used for spiritual healing. Whilst Garnet is primarily associated with the root chakra, it is effective at opening either chakras depending upon the color of the stone in question.

Almandite Garnet in particular is said to be useful for strengthening the heart, inspiring love, and perceiving truth.

Worldwide Almandite deposits provide us with an abundant and relatively inexpensive supply of this versatile gemstone.

There are known Almandite deposits in Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, India, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Scotland, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States.

Almandite Garnet is rated at 7-7.5 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness, making it durable and resistant to everyday wear and tear. Though only small amounts of the mineral are suitable for gem use because of
dark color, Almandite Garnet is still the most commonly known and used gemstone from the Garnet family. It is a popular choice in the gem trade because it is natural, abundant, and inexpensive. It is often a deep fiery red in color, but it can also display shades of brown and violet purple. Almandite Garnet is usually eye-clean and has a brilliant luster, though its transparency is often impaired due to the depth of its dark tone.

Common Cuts:
Generally only small to medium-sized Almandite stones are faceted because their coloration is usually not as dark as the larger stones. They are most commonly cut into the shape/cut that will exhibit the least amount of dark color and allow the maximum anount of light to pass through. Brilliant cut tends to be quite popular because it allows the stone to fully display its fiery red color. Some Almandites also have asbestos fiber inclusions. These are cut into cabochons and often display four-rayed stars.

Routine Enhancements:
There are no known enhancements for Almandite.

Care & Cleaning:
Garnet can be cleaned using warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaners are generally considered safe for most Garnet varieties, but not for all, so use with caution. Garnet should be kept away from chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid, and protected from drastic temperature changes as this may cause fracturing.

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