Monday, June 7, 2010

Purple Garnet / Grape Garnet

Purple Garnet / Grape Garnet

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

Garnet is associated with the zodiac sign Aquarius.

Chemical Symbol:
Pyrope: Mg3Al2(SiO4)3
Almandite: Fe3Al2(SiO4)3

Chemical Make-up:
Grape Garnet has a chemical composition containing a mixture of both Pyrope and Almandite.

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.

Eric Braunwart, president of Columbia Gem House of Vancouver, Washington, had branded this gemstone well at the breakfast table. He was pouring his daughter's favorite juice when he noticed a striking color resemblance with the Garnet he was attempting to name.

It is believed that Noah used a huge Garnet to illuminate the night to help steer his ark to safety. Garnets have also been used by many explorers and travelers as it is believed to protect the wearer when journeying far from home.

Garnets have also been set in shields, armor, and buckles by crusaders for it is believed that it gives protection from wounds & stops bleeding. Many native tribes from North, Central, and South America wore Garnets to ward off evil influences and spirits.

The Hunzas used Garnet bullets to fend off the British troops during their quarrel of 1982, believing that it was stronger and more deadly then lead.

Garnet is 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 also effective at opening other chakras, depending upon the color of the stone in question.

Grape Garnet is both rare and sought-after as it is mined in just one location in the world, with only a very small portion of the Garnet mined meeting the stringent criteria needed in order to be selected as a Grape Garnet.

Grape Garnet is mined solely in the State of Orissa, on the bay of Bengal in Eastern India.

Grape Garnet is rated at 7 - 7.5 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness, making it durable and resistant to everyday wear and tear. The Garnet is a popular gemstone choice the world over because it is a natural, untreated gemstone that is generally affordable.

Grape Garnet's intense purple-red color, which is reminiscent of a fine merlot or cabernet wine, is distinctively different in color than Rhodolite or Almandite Garnet. These rare gemstones must meet stringent criteria before being accepted as a true Grape Garnet. The gems must display a consistent purple-red color, be free of all visible inclusions, and lastly be extremely well-cut. By following this strict criteria, the true brilliance and fire of the gem can be exhibited - they have an unusually high refractive index of 1.79 or higher.

Though Grape Garnet is considered to be a rarity, prices remain to be quite modest. These factors along with it's unique color and the fact that it is untreated makes it a desirable gemstone for collectors and gem dealers the world over.

Common Cuts:
Precision faceting is needed for Grape Garnets unique fire and color to be displayed. Common cuts include ovals, cushions, checkerboards, round brilliants, trillions and princess cuts.

Routine Enhancements:
There are no known treatments for Grape Garnet.

Care & Cleaning:
A Garnet can be cleaned using warm, soapy water and a soft brush. An ultrasonic cleaner is safe for most Garnets but not for all, so should be used with caution. Garnet should be kept away from chemicals that will cause it to erode such as hydrofluoric acid. Garnet should also be kept away from drastic temperature changes as this may cause fracturing.

Always store your Grape Garnet jewelry in a fabric-lined box, away from other jewelry in order to avoid scratching / damage.

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