Demantoid garnet is a member of the garnet family. Garnet is a family of related minerals. Each has a common crystal structure and a similar chemical composition. The luster on its surface can range from being vitreous (glass-like) to resinous (amber-like). Most people think that it is exclusively red. This is far from true however, as in fact garnet is available in a far greater variety of colours, from pinks and red through to browns and greens.
Demantoid garnet is a rare and beautiful bright grass green. Its first recorded discovery was in around 1892 in the Bobrovka area of Russia.
Demantoid means diamond-like, and this is applied to this stone because of its very high lustre and amazingly high colour-dispersion (ability to refract and reflect light – ‘sparkle’, in layman’s terms!) It is the softest of the garnets. It was Russian jeweller Carl Fabergé’s favourite stone, and he frequently used it in his creations, including his well-known Faberge eggs.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, demantoid garnet became a highly sought after stone. It commanded high prices because of its rarity. In recent decades, it has been unobtainable as newly mined material, and has only been available from antique jewellery. However, in the last few years a small quantity of fine-quality stones have been found in Russia, and it is once again possible (though perhaps only briefly) to obtain ‘new’ demantoid garnets for use in fine jewellery.
Tzavorite is another popular green garnet.