Red garnet is a semi-precious stone that has a deep red colour and remarkable brilliance. Red garnet is one of the oldest and most common gemstones in the world, having been used as an ornament and as a symbol of wealth and power by many ancient civilizations. It has a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale and a density of 3.5-4.3 g/cm3. Red garnet has a varied chemical composition, but generally consists of aluminium silicate and iron.
Red garnet has several varieties, depending on the hue and purity of colour. The best known varieties are: pyrope, almandine, rhodanite and spessartite. Each variety has different optical and physical properties and different values in the jewellery market. Pyrope is the purest and most expensive red garnet, with a blood red colour and high transparency. Almandine is the most common and cheapest red garnet, having a dark red colour with shades of brown or purple. Rhodolite is a red garnet with shades of pink or purple and is highly prized for its beauty. Spessartite is a red garnet with orange or yellow hues, and is very rare and very expensive.
Red garnet has a diverse origin, being found in many regions of the world. One of the most important sources of red garnet is Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean with a rich history of gemstone mining and trade. Sri Lanka produces high quality red garnets with intense colour and excellent clarity. Sri Lanka's red garnets are known as Ceylon garnets, after the island's ancient name. Ceylon garnets are highly sought after by collectors and jewellery lovers and are considered some of the most beautiful semi-precious stones in the world.