Hessonite Garnet Gemstone Information
About Hessonite Garnet - History and Introduction
Hessonite is a gem quality variety of grossularite (grossular) garnet, the calcium-aluminum silicate member of the garnet species. While most varieties of grossularite are green, hessonite is known for its characteristic honey-yellow to brown-red 'cinnamon' color, though it can occur in other colors as well. It is referred to as the 'cinnamon stone' or the 'kaneel stone' in reference to its distinct color. Other types of grossular garnets include the more common green grossularite, chromium-rich tsavorite, the rare hydrogrossular garnet and the rare leuco garnet (colorless).
Hessonite is an extremely important stone in Vedic astrology and like other garnets, it may also be worn as one of the traditional birthstones for the month of January. For many years, gems that were thought to be zircon were discovered to be hessonite. The name, 'hessonite', was derived from the Greek word 'hesson', meaning 'inferior' - in reference to the fact that hessonite has a density and hardness lower than that of most other forms of garnet.
Identifying Hessonite Garnet Back to Top
Hessonite can be easily distinguished from other garnet types by its distinctive color and the presence of manganese. Hessonite garnet also has a lower specific gravity compared to other garnet types. Under magnification, hessonite exhibits undulating and contorted areas of lesser transparency, which can often help identify and distinguish hessonite from other similar colored gemstones. Like other garnets, hessonite has a distinct cubic crystal structure. The rhombic dodecahedral faces, which appear like twelve-sided dice, are a hallmark of garnet gemstones. Other distinguishing aspects include lack of cleavage or pleochroism (garnet is singly refractive), which combine with its color, hardness and exceptionally high refractive index, to make hessonite garnet almost unmistakable.
Hessonite Garnet Origin and Sources Back to Top
The most well-known deposits of hessonite are sourced from Sri Lanka, but it is also mined from various other localities including Brazil, India, Canada (Quebec), Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Tanzania and the US (California).
Buying Hessonite Garnet Back to Top
Hessonite Garnet Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Hessonite Garnet: Related or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Hessonite is a variety of grossularite or grossular garnet which also includes common green grossularite; the colorless to near-colorless leuco garnet; a rare green dense opaque hydrogrossular garnet; and the valuable chromium-vanadium tsavorite. The garnet group of gemstones is one of the most important in the gemstone industry. In addition to grossularite, the garnet family also includes pyrope, almandine, spessartite, uvarovite and andradite. Although there are only six distinct mineral species of garnet, garnet commonly forms with more than one mineral, creating numerous hybrid varieties. Very rarely is any garnet ever found in pure form.
There are a number of other gemstones and minerals which can be easily mistaken for garnet stones, mainly because of the wide variety of colors and localities in which garnet can occur. Some of the most commonly confused materials include spinel, chrysoberyl, alexandrite, tourmaline and sapphire.
Hessonite Garnet - Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Properties Back to Top
Hessonite is referred to as 'gomedhaka' in Sanskrit, and in ancient mythology, hessonite is believed to be the fingernails of Vala, an Indian God. It is one of the nine planetary gemstones in Vedic astrology. Hessonite is associated with Rahu, the moon's ascending node, and it is believed that wearing hessonite (2 carats or larger), will bring success, good fortune and longevity.
Garnet is a traveler's stone, in fact, many courageous discoverers and adventurers were known to wear garnet stones for protection. These gemstones were also considered to be powerful talismans, capable of illuminating the night and dispelling evil spirits. Garnet has often been used to lift depression and to rid people of bad dreams. Physically, garnets are said to help alleviate arthritis, varicose veins, backache, liver disorders and help prevent hemorrhages. Furthermore, garnet is said encourage romance, love and passion.
All garnet types can be worn as stones for Aquarians. Garnet is also the official 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.
Hessonite Garnet Jewelry Ideas Back to Top
Hessonite garnet can be used in all types of jewelry and is quite suitable for any design. Its hardness ranges from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, which makes it resistant to wear and tear. The absence of cleavage also adds to its durability. Hessonite also has remarkable dispersion and brilliance which makes it perfect for daily-wear rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pins, and pendants. However, since hessonite is one of the rarer varieties of garnet, it is not normally found in local jewelry stores. Also, because it is typically untreated, it is commonly worn in planetary and astrological jewelry.
Anniversary and eternity bands often use hessonite, since garnet is the 2nd year wedding anniversary gemstone. Hessonite can also be found in many traditional birthstone jewelry designs. Best of all, hessonite is quite often available in large sizes unlike many of the rare forms of garnet.
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.
Hessonite Garnet Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Hessonite 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 and temperature fluctuations as this may cause fracturing. Ultrasonic cleaners are not recommended and steamers should be avoided as well as the use of any harsh household chemicals and cleaners, including bleach or hydrofluoric acid, since these chemicals can cause corrosion.
Although hessonite is quite durable, it is still suggested to 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 hessonite gems and jewelry, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: January-23-2014
- Last Updated: May-30-2014
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