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>> Group(s) : garnets, silicates
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It is the most well-known and widely distributed garne, named after its locality Alabandicus or Alabanda, a town in Asia Minor, currently in Turkey.Since Antiquity Pliny the Elder used to qualified it as gem. It was once known as carbuncle, an archaic name given to any red cabochon cut gemstone in reference to the color of burning coal.
Alchemists believed almandite holds the power of fire. Ancient societies, such as the Persians, used it to make jewels.
Its purplish red color is caracteristical but

Exploited sites

It is found in Austria (in the Otztal, Tyrol), Scotland, Czech Republic, Syria,
Brazil (Pedra Lavrada), the United States in Emerald Creek in Idaho and Barton
in New York State, in India (Jaipur, Rajasthan), in Afghanistan, Pakistan,
China, Madagascar, Sri Lanka. In France it was found in the Eastern Pyrenees
in the Batere Mine, at Pnt de Salars in Aveyron and at Rives de Giers
in the department of the Loire.

See pictures of the mines / other pictures

Use in jewelry

It has been used since antiquity in Europe and India as a gemstone, sometimes engraved. Its beautiful red color and brightness have a very beautiful effect. The most interesting ones are from India and Sri Lanka. Its composition is sometimes very close to pyrope to which it closely resembles, and with which it is often confused. Garnets were popular throughout the world and were widely used in the second half of the nineteenth century.
It is also used to make abrasives. Garnet is the stone anniversary of the second year of marriage.

Daily care and precautions

Gem easy to maintain, it cleans up with water containing detergent, rinse with clear water non calcareous. Impact resistant, it can still break during a violent shock.

Looking alike stones

pyrope , ruby , spinel , tourmaline

Historical healing properties

It is not recommended, as many red stones, to the aggressive, the angry, the jealous, to the ambitious ... but however it is advisable to calm ones and in control of themselves.
It is a stone of energy,of roots in relation to the earth. It is related to the bloodstream. This garnet transmits force, energy, courage (solar plexus chakra). It would fight external aggression, would have a beneficial effect on blood circulation (Heart chakra) and is related to the sexual organs (Sex Chakra).

Imitations and treatments

A red glass can imitate it as much as synthetic rubies and spinels. There are also garnet-glass doublets since the nineteenth century. This is the material that was used to make tables and / or crowns of garnet-glass doublets.

Historical stones and related legends

The Coin Cabinet of the National Library in Paris holds the so-called Chosroes cup, rich with twenty-six stones, which the eight largest reach 3 inches in diameter. At the Louvre, Vienna (Austria), we can see small bowls carved from a single stone. The Francs mounted them flat, as marquetry.
At the museum of Montauban, a painting by Ingres portraying Mrs. Manessier, was able to reproduce the particular aspect of the garnets on her jewels. The National Museum of Natural History in Paris retains a salt shaker crafted in an almandine garnet.

Chemical characteristics

iron aluminium silicate

Physical characteristics

Main color : red

Other colors : pink, purple

deep red color, inclining to purple. Idiochromatic, its color is given by its chimical composition.

Color of streak : white

Luster : vitreous

Hardness : 6.5 to 7.5

Density : 3.80 to 4.30

Cleavage : indistinct

Fracture : conchoidal, uneven

Optical properties

Transparency : transparent, translucent

sometimes so colored that it seems opaque

Refractive Index : 1.770 - 1.820

Double refraction : 0.000

No double refraction because garnets are isotropic (listed in the cubic system). But they can reveal anomalous double refraction.

visible double refraction : no

Dispersion : 0.027 (0.015)

Pleochroism : absent

Number of colors : 1

Absorption spectrum : 576 - 526 - 505

spectrum system almandin

spectrum system almandin

spectrum system pyrope - almandin

spectrum system pyrope - almandin

Fluorescence : none

Inclusions : solid inclusions : zircon, sphene, apatite or rutile needles which give a star aspect


Habit: generally occurs as dodecahedra, often big crystals


Crystal system : cubic

Other informations

Astrological sign : Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

Chinese astrological sign : Rat

Month : january

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  • Cancer Cancer
  • Leo Leo
  • Scorpio Scorpio
  • Aquarius Aquarius

Energy, strength, courage but also sensitivity, creativity and patience.

Chinese astrological sign :
  • Rat Rat

Garnet brings energy, ambition and efficiency. Reduces the suspicious and manipulative side and makes fun and friendly.