Garnets are some of the second-most famous red gems, right after rubies. And as the central stone in an engagement ring, garnets have a very special meaning of their own. All gemstones were believed to offer various types of protection to the wearer, or bring luck, and garnet is no different.
So what does a garnet engagement ring mean ? Read on to find out so you can figure out whether garnet is the right stone for you or your loved one. These gems have a history and meaning of their own !
Garnet engagement ring meaning
Garnet engagement rings symbolize love, passion, vitality, lasting friendship, and protection. This means your marriage will be strong and you devote yourselves to protecting one another, as garnets channel the strength and vitality of fire.
A garnet engagement ring also holds the underlying promise that you and your loved one will always have friendship as the base of your relationship, and you will always safely return to one another. Ancient Greeks believed garnets were linked to pomegranates, which the famous Hecate ate before the was kidnapped by Hades. However she always returned to her mother, safe and sound.
Are garnets good for engagement rings ?
Yes, garnets are a good option for engagement rings, as long as you set them in a relatively protective setting such as a bezel, pave, or channel. Or you could use at least 4 prongs, though 6 would provide more protection.
Garnets have been very popular in jewelry in ancient times and they only fell out of fashion by the late 1800s. They’re experiencing a bit of a revival in the past couple of decades, especially since non-traditional engagement rings became more popular.
Read also: Is Stainless Steel Jewelry Good ?
Can you wear garnet every day ?
Garnet should not be worn every day as it is prone to scratching and chipping, due to it being a soft stone. Garnets score a 6.5-7.6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, with diamonds scoring 10 by comparison. Only stones that score at least 7 are considered safe to wear every day, but all this means is they won’t easily split, butt hey may scratch.
If you were to wear your garnet engagement ring on a daily basis it would lose its shine within a couple of years due to the wear and tear of daily life.
We recommend either wearing your garnet engagement ring only on special occasions, or looking for a more durable gem or simulated gem.
Are garnets valuable ?
Garnets are fairly affordable, with a 2 carat red (almandine) garnet going for about $43 on Gempundit. This particular gemstone is an oval cut with no indication of heat treatment or other enhancements.
There are other, more expensive versions of garnet. Those are usually extraordinarily clear and exhibit a striking red color. The red ones are the most valuable, but compared to a ruby of similar color, garnets are far more accessible to the general public.
As always, inclusions that dim the brightness and clarity of the gem will bring the price down. A less than perfect color will also being the price down, as well as the craftsmanship of the cut.
What to know when buying garnet gems
If you’re set on getting a garnet gemstone for your engagement ring then there are a few things you should be aware of before you look for one. Here’s what to remember when shopping for garnets.
Garnet is considered the January birthstone
If you or your loved one are born in January, or you’re planning to propose or get married in January, then garnet has an extra special place in your life. Not only is this gemstone going to bring you the best in your marriage, it will do so tenfold as it’s the designated birthstone for the month of January.
The typical garnet color is red, so a red garnet gem on a January engagement ring for a Capricorn or Aquarius would really go well.
Various garnet colors come with various names
Depending on where you get your garnet from, you need to remember that each color of garnet has its own name. This may mean that a green garnet won’t be labeled as ‘green garnet’ but instead uvarovite (bright pure green), grossular (yellow-green), or andradite (grey-brown-green).
Red versions of garnet are pyrope (warm, yellowish red) and almandine (pinkish-purple kind of red). So don’t be fooled by the various names garnet may come under. Ask the jeweler for more information if you’re unsure, as they should be capable of telling you which is which.
Other red gemstones like garnet
If you’d like to consider a different gemstone than garnet but of a similar color, then there are a few options. While a garnet is beautiful and has a lot of meaning behind it, if you really want to wear it more often you will be disappointed in time by the many trips for re-polishing and faceting.
So here are a few ideas you can try, for garnet-like gems that are more durable and will stand up better to daily wear and tear.
These are definitely stronger than garnets, as they rank a 9 on the Mohs scale while garnets rank a 6.5-7.5. The Mohs scale of hardness is a logarithmic scale, so each number is 10 times higher than the previous.
A ruby is more expensive than a garnet indeed, but it offers the options of daily wear without succumbing to scratches or chipping.
Red cubic zirconia
While cubic zirconia is more accessible to the wide public than rubies, it does come in a softer form (8-8.5 on Mohs scale) than garnet. This makes it much easier to wear on a daily basis, and if you ever need to replace the stone it’s pretty affordable.
One thing cubic zirconia has going for it that garnet does not is its refractive index. It’s significantly higher than garnet, at 2.15 compared to garnet’s 1.72-1.94. For comparison a diamond’s refractive index is 2.41, and the higher the number the more brilliance and fire you will see in the stone.
You can easily find red moissanite if you were to look for it, but it tends to be more expensive than red cubic zirconia. Moissanite is a very effective diamond dupe, and this raises the price significantly. However it manages to be tougher than a ruby, scoring a 9.25 on the Mohs scale. Moissanite also has a higher refractive index and a diamond, scoring a 2.65 which makes it even more brilliant.
Which of these substitutes you choose depends on your taste and budget, and whether you want to wear your engagement ring every single day. Some people decide to never take them off, while some only wear them on special occasions and instead wear their wedding bands.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.