|What is Hessonite Garnet?
Hessonite belongs to the grossularite garnet group, which also includes the rare tsavorite garnet. While most grossularite garnet is green, hessonite typically has a orange-brown color which has earned it the nickname cinnamon stone.
The grossularite garnets are calcium aluminum silicates, with a density of 3.57-3.73 and a refractive index of 1.734-1.759. In addition to hessonite and tsavorite, the group includes the colorless leuco garnet and the dense opaque green hydrogrossular garnet.
Hessonite garnet ranges in color from honey-yellow to orange-brown to brown-red. One of the distinguishing characteristics of hessonite is a "treacly" quality -- when viewed under magnification one can see undulating, contorted areas of lesser transparency. These subtle inclusions are a useful key in distinguishing hessonite from other gemstones of similar colors, such as citrine, topaz and orange zircon.
One of the reasons that hessonite garnet is historically important is that it has a special place in the Vedic astrological tradition. Hessonite is one of the nine planetary gemstones along with ruby, diamond, pearl, red coral, blue sapphire, cat's eye, yellow sapphire and emerald. Hessonite, known in Sanskrit as Gomeda, is the stone associated with Rahu, the moon's ascending node. When badly positioned in one's astrological chart, Rahu is characterized by insatiable worldly preoccupations and desires and sensual gratification. Vedic astrologists believe that wearing a good quality hessonite of at least 2 carats will bring success, wealth and recognition in society, and increase life span and good fortune.
The most well known hessonite deposits are in Sri Lanka but hessonite is also mined in Brazil, India, Canada, Madagascar, Tanzania and the United States. Hessonite can often be difficult to find in the market as it is often overshadowed by the more popular spessartite garnet. Hessonite is usually less expensive than high quality spessartite as well.
- First Published: July-09-2008
- Last Updated: October-06-2010
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