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by Amanda Applebyinfo@amandaappleby.com

The Most Prized Garnets

Garnets are some of the most prized precious stones used in jewellery. They are most commonly known to be a deep vivid red, but in fact they come in a range of beautiful shades, each as eye-catching as the next. Generally, garnets are not known to be exceptionally expensive or rare, but there are three varieties that are more costly:

Tsavorite garnets were first discovered in 1967 by a geologist named Dr Campbell R Bridges. He discovered a deposit of these brilliant green stones in the mountains of north-east Tanzania, but was blocked from exporting them by the Tanzanian government. This led him to prospect in other areas and he discovered a deposit in Kenya which he was allowed to mine, and he exported the stones from there. The name ''tsavorite'' comes from the Tsavo National Park, where the stones were mined in Kenya. In 1974 Tiffany & Co. launched a marketing campaign that projected the stones into the limelight and generated the awe and spectacle around them. The gems are mostly found in quite modest sizes, but a stone weighing 325 carat has previously been found!

Another wondrously green variety of garnet is the demantoid garnet, first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the mid 1800s. The name comes from the Dutch for ''diamond-like'' because of its brightness and stunning refractive quality. Demantoid garnets are mostly various shades of green. Fabergé was a great fan of using these gems in his jewellery design until the Russian Revolution when his operations ceased. The stones regained popularity in the 1970's and 80's when deposits were found elsewhere in Russia. Deposits were also found in 1996 in Namibia in a mine now known as the ''Green Dragon'' mine. The stones fetch high prices because of their glimmering shine and striking colours.

The Spessartine garnet has an orange-gold colour and is another of the rarest and most prized garnets. It was first found in Spessart in Bavaria, although deposits of the stone are found worldwide, from Madagascar to The United States. Although they are found across the globe, the deposits are small - making the stone not as readily available as the other varieties.

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Garnet

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Carats | Garnet | Gems
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