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By Gavin Clarke Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk Jan 23, 2014 Updated Jan 17, 2019

Hessonite Garnet Gemstone Information

Hessonite Garnet Gemstones from GemSelect - Large Image
Buy Natural Hessonite Garnet from GemSelect

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.

Hessonite Garnet Gemstone

Identifying Hessonite Garnet

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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

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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

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Hessonite Garnet Color

Hessonite colors can range from deep yellow or golden orange to cinnamon brown. Its color is owed to traces of manganese. Hessonite often contains tiny honey-colored inclusions. These inclusions typically do not detract from the value of the stone. The most desirable color is bright golden orange; lighter stones exhibit more brilliance.

Hessonite Garnet Clarity and Luster

Gem quality hessonite is transparent to translucent, but lower grade materials are opaque. Hessonite is typically heavily included. The most common impurities are honey-colored inclusions. With hessonite, inclusions do not normally detract from the value of the stone. When polished, hessonite has a vitreous (glass-like) luster.

Hessonite Garnet Cut and Shape

Hessonite garnet is typically faceted to enhance color. If not properly cut, the color can appear too dark and decrease the value of the stone. Oval and cushion shaped stones are most common, followed by round, pear and emerald (octagon) shaped stones.

Hessonite Garnet Treatment

Like most varieties of garnet, hessonite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Hessonite Garnet Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: Ca3Al2(SiO4)3 Calcium aluminum silicate
Crystal Structure: (Cubic) rhombic dodecahedron
Color: Brown-red
Hardness: 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.734 to 1.759
Density: 3.57 to 3.73
Cleavage: Indistinct
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Double Refraction Normally none
Luster: Vitreous
Fluorescence: Mostly none

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Hessonite Garnet: Related or Similar Gemstones:

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Grossular Garnet

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.

Most Popular Garnet Varieties:

Tsavorite garnet, star garnet, pyrope garnet, almandine garnet, rhodolite garnet, grossular (grossularite) garnet, spessartite garnet, demantoid garnet and malaya (malaia) garnet are among the most popular garnet varieties.

Lesser-Known Garnet Varieties:

Hydrogrossular garnet, andradite garnet, leuco garnet, melanite garnet, topazolite garnet, uvarovite garnet, Mali garnet, color change garnet and umbalite garnet are among the lesser-known garnet varieties.

Hessonite Garnet - Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Properties

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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.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and is not the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Hessonite Garnet Jewelry Ideas

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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

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How to clean your gemstonesHessonite 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.

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