Grossularite Gemstone Information
About Grossularite - Introduction
Grossularite or grossular garnet is one of the six main 'end-members' of the garnet family, which also includes pyrope, almandine, spessartite, uvarovite and andradite. The name 'grossular' is derived from the botanical name for the gooseberry, 'grossularia'. All varieties of garnet share a common crystal structure but have varying chemical compositions; grossularite is the calcium-aluminum form of garnet. Though the grossular garnet species includes a variety of gemstones, grossularite typically refers to the more common light to medium-green gem-quality form of grossular garnet. Other rarer varieties of grossular garnet tend to trade under their own varietal gemstone names.
Other Varieties of Grossular Garnet
Tsavorite garnet is an emerald-green grossular garnet colored by chromium or vanadium. It was named after Tsavo National Park located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, near Mount Kilimanjaro. This area is the only known source for tsavorite garnet. Tsavorite from Kenya is considered to be the most valuable.
Hessonite garnet is an orange-brown grossular variety, often referred to as the 'cinnamon stone' or 'Kaneel stone'. Its color is owed to traces of manganese and iron.
Hydrogrossular garnet is a rare, green grossular garnet which is dense and opaque. Its color resembles that of jade and it is typically cut en cabochon, rather than faceted.
Leuco garnet is a rare white or colorless to near-colorless variety of grossular garnet. Most specimens will exhibit a slight tinge of yellow, green or pink color.
Identifying Grossularite Back to Top
Grossularite is a calcium-aluminum garnet and like all other forms of garnet, it has an extremely distinct cubic crystal structure. Grossularite garnet has an exceptionally high refractive index (1.734 to 1.759) and excellent brilliance. It also has good dispersion, or "fire", which is best seen in lighter colored specimens, and its hardness varies from 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Grossularite can often be confused with demantoid garnet, but demantoid is a variety of andradite, a calcium-iron garnet; grossularite is a calcium-aluminum garnet. Garnet's hardness combined with its absence of cleavage makes it easily identifiable.
Grossularite Origin and Sources Back to Top
Deposits of grossularite are found in a number of locations, including Canada (Quebec), USA (Vermont), Africa (Mali), Russia (Siberia), Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
Tsavorite garnet is found only in the area bordering Kenya and Tanzania, near the famous Tsavo National Park.
Hydrogrossular garnet is found in Myanmar (Burma), Zambia and South Africa.
Leuco garnet is found in areas of Canada, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma) and Tanzania.
Hessonite garnet is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, India, Canada and the United States.
Buying Grossularite Back to Top
Grossularite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Grossularite: Related or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
The garnet group of gemstones is one of the most important in the gem trade. Owing to garnet deposits forming in locations scattered around the world, there are a number of other gemstones that can be easily mistaken for garnet. Some of the most commonly confused gems include chrysoberyl, alexandrite, tourmaline and sapphire.
There are only six mineral species of garnet, but because garnet commonly forms with more than one mineral species, there are numerous distinct gemstone forms. Garnet is very rarely found in its pure form.
Grossularite - Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Properties Back to Top
The name 'garnet' comes from the Latin word 'garanatus', which means 'seed-like' - in reference to pomegranate fruit seeds. Garnet in general has been widely known for thousands of years. The Greeks believed that garnet protected their children from drowning and it was thought to be a potent antidote to poison. The Koran notes garnet as a stone that illuminates the fourth heaven. Hebrew and Christian scriptures included garnet as one of the twelve stones embedded on Aaron's breastplate, and it was also reported that Noah used a lantern fabricated from garnet to aid him in safely steering his ark through the darkness of night.
Garnet is a traveler's stone. Many courageous discoverers and adventurers were known to wear garnet stones for protection. The stones were considered to be powerful talismans, capable of illuminating the night and dispelling evil spirits. Garnet was often used to lift depression and to rid people of bad dreams. It is said to enhance sensuality, intimacy and sexuality. Garnet can strengthen one's level of creativity. It is also believed to boost positive energy, self-confidence, and bring success to one's business. Physically, garnet can alleviate arthritis, varicose veins, backache, liver disorders and help prevent hemorrhages. Garnet is said encourage romance, love and passion.
Garnet is the stone for Aquarius and the official modern birthstone for January. In addition, it is also the 2nd marriage anniversary stone. Garnet is also considered the planetary stone for Mars, Mercury and Pluto. Although garnet is primarily associated with the root chakra, depending upon its color, it can also be useful for opening up other chakras as well.
Grossularite Jewelry Ideas Back to Top
Grossularite garnet can be used in all types of jewelry and is quite suitable for any design. It has excellent hardness, brilliance and durability which makes it ideal for use in daily-wear rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pins, and pendants. However, since most grossularite stones are quite small, it can be difficult to find one suitable for use as single solitaire center stone. Since grossularite is one of the rarer varieties of garnet, it is not typically found in local jewelry stores, though it is one of the more affordable of the green garnets.
Anniversary and eternity bands are great ideas for grossularite, since garnet is the 2nd year wedding anniversary gemstone. Grossularite can also be found in many traditional birthstone jewelry designs. Grossularite is typically untreated, so it is commonly worn in planetary and astrological jewelry. Best of all, grossularite and most other garnets are relatively affordable and readily available, although there are some very rare and valuable varieties available.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.
Grossularite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Grossularite garnet can be cleaned using warm water and a mild soap or detergent. You can wipe down your stones with a plain soft cloth or brush. After wiping, be sure to rinse your gems and jewelry well to ensure all soapy residue is removed. Avoid extreme heat, as extreme temperature fluctuations can cause fracturing. Ultrasonic cleaners are not recommended and steamers should also be avoided, as well as the use of any harsh household chemicals and cleaners, including bleach or hydrofluoric acid, since the chemicals can cause corrosion.
Although grossularite is quite durable, it is still suggested that you always remove any jewelry before engaging in vigorous physical activities, such as exercise or sports. When removing jewelry, do not pull from the stone as this can weaken prongs, eventually leading to a lost stone. When storing grossularite gemstones, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: January-22-2014
- Last Updated: March-08-2016
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