The garnet family of gemstones has been used as an abrasive and for decoration for thousands of years, since before the Common Era. According to Biblical folklore, Noah used a huge brilliant garnet for a headlight on the Ark, and mystics have often associated the garnet gemstone with the power to protect travelers in strange foreign lands. In Victorian England garnet witnessed a fashionable revival, and with groundbreaking discoveries in the 20th century, the garnet beads’ popularity in jewelry has only grown.
The name ‘garnet’ most likely comes from the Latin punica granatum, owing to the red garnet’s likeness to the small glossy seeds of the pomegranate. Such comparison is a testament to the garnet gem’s naturally brilliant shine. Indeed, were it dull or drab Noah certainly would not have used it as a seafaring guide!
The garnet bead has been discovered in a wealth of different colours, and while its name was formerly associated with the common deep red variety, other colours have lately taken the forefront of the accessory world’s attention. Green garnet beads are a great example, and while the lime green demantoid garnet beads were always a notable favourite of legendary Russian jeweler Carl Fabergé, a new green garnet known as tsavorite has recently captivated global attention. Found in Tanzania by English geologist Campbell R. Bridges as late as 1969, tsavorite gets its moniker from the nearby Tsavo National Park, and is increasingly well known for its impressive range of green hues. Anything from a citrus spring green beads to a velvety forest green beads is tsavorite’s domain, and like all garnet beads, its high shine and tantalizing refractivity usually make it the centrepiece of any accessory that incorporates it.