The garnet family is hardly a newcomer in the gem trade. Used since ancient times, it is only recently that it has been on the rise from a trading standpoint. The immense variety of colors and trade names that the garnet family possesses has been a blessing for traders.
Garnets, in general, can be found virtually anywhere. Gem quality garnet on the other hand is a different animal altogether. Much rarer and in increasing demand, their prices are skyrocketing and big sizes extremely difficult to obtain. Most garnets fall under three categories or mix of these: Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine.
Enough talking about the garnet family as whole and off we go to the matter at hand: The Mozambique Purple Grape Garnet type!
Grape garnet first appeared in early 2000 in the western Indian province of Orissa (also called Odisha). This location was producing some interesting, clean material, although now the mines are thought to be depleted.
Lucky for us, a couple of years ago similar stones were discovered in East Africa. Mozambique and its competitor in garnet production, Tanzania, have started to produce these lovely stones.
The “grape” garnet is a mix of the pyrope and almandine garnets, and tend to display a color shift under different light sources. It is not unheard of to see these gems shift from a pleasant grape purple in colder (white) light to a bright pinkish red or magenta in warmer (incandescent) light.
Facetable gem material above three carats is quite rare, and stones above five carats tend to be overly dark regardless of the cutting style. This makes top material even more valuable and sought after in the market, even within the relatively affordable garnet family.
I personally love this material and had a couple of pieces mounted for myself, but I'd love to hear your opinion about these gems, this post and the ones to come!
See you soon in the Lounges!