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January's Birthstone of the Month

Garnet derived its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning like a grain, which refers to the mode of occurrence wherein crystals resemble grains or seeds embedded in the matrix. Garnet is a family of minerals having similar physical and crystalline properties. There are a number of trade and variety names for garnet, most of these names are for particular colors of a specie. Hessonite is the variety name for a fine orange, cinnamon brown, or pinkish variety of grossularite, while tsavorite is the trade name for fine dark green grossularite.

Melanite is a black titanium bearing variety of andradite and demantoid is a rich green variety. Malaya is a trade name for a pyrope-spessartite that varies in color from red, through shades of orange and brownish orange to peach and pink. Rhodolite is a purplish red pyrope-almandite solid solution garnet. Fine-quality pyrope garnets from Czechoslovakia are often called Bohemian garnets. Almandite and almandite-pyrope solid solution garnets are the best abrasive types, but andradite, grossularite, and pyrope also are used All species of garnet have been used as gemstones.

Garnet displays the greatest variety of color of any mineral, occurring in every color except blue. For example, grossularite can be colorless, white, gray, yellow, yellowish green, various shades of green, brown, pink, reddish, or black. Andradite garnet can be yellow-green, green, greenish brown, orangy yellow, brown, grayish black or black. Pyrope is commonly purplish red, purplish red, orangy red, crimson, or dark red; and almandite is deep red, brownish red, brownish black or violet-red. Spessartite garnet can be red, reddish orange, orange, yellow-brown, reddish brown, or blackish brown. A few garnets exhibit a color-change phenomenon. They are one color when viewed in natural light and another color when viewed in incandescent light.

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