Colorless Garnet

I am not a garnet girl. I think they are beautiful but the range of colors hasn’t exactly captured my heart the way that other stone varieties have. Now, that being said, I own a few of the lesser known varieties.

Before I really got into gems, I was in the dark, like most other people, and thought that garnets only came in that orangey red color that seems to be prevalent in the mall jewelry stores. So the first time I saw a tsavorite, I was absolutely blown away. Who knew that garnets could come in green?!

Right now, I have a few darker mint garnets/tsavorites, a smaller mint from the Merelani Hills, an orange Loliondo Spessartite and a very light buttery yellow grossular garnet in my possession. Eventually I would like to add a more purple-pink (likely Rhodolite) garnet, as well as a light pink/peach (Malaya/Malaia) to my repertoire.



Garnets come in a variety of colors, from the browns to yellows, to purples, pinks and reds, plus some of the most vibrant and saturated greens and oranges in the gemstone world. Garnets can do some color shifting as well, the most pleasing is usually between blue and purple colorways. Colorless happens to be one of the most rare colors, and due to garnet’s dispersion, one of the most beautiful and diamond like. These are commonly called leuco garnets.




Which brings me to my current conundrum, because it’s the dispersion and the colorless bit that’s giving me pause in the case of the current very light yellow situation. I had been interested in a darker yellow round garnet and had started visualizing designs for a pendant for an existing chain, but the seller decided against selling it before I could pull the trigger. The light oval is more expensive, roughly two times as much as the round, as it is lighter in tone and therefore more valuable.


In this last photo, there is a distinct dark stripe through the center of the stone. This is commonly called a “bowtie” and is a relatively common cut flaw with pear, oval, elongated cushions and marquise cut stones. Having said that, because this stone was cut by the super talented John Dyer, the bowtie that appears in the photo is actually a reflection of the camera lens. You can see on the bottom right of the stone, there is a brown splotchy patch – that is reflecting my skin. However, that little purple-looking facet on the right side is some of that dispersion I was talking about. Part of the problem with photographing gemstones is eliminating environmental factors, including the camera because the facets reflect everything, just like tiny mirrors.

If I do end up keeping this stone, I would put it in a fancy yellow diamond halo (but never plain and hugging the outline of the stone), in yellow gold, and attach it to my existing Italian yellow gold chain. No matter what, the project will need more thought and planning, as the chain has significant sentimental value to me.

More colored garnets to come!