Garnet: Orissa Rhodolite

Throughout the ages, garnets have been one of the most coveted and popular gems because of their classic and magnificent colors. Orissa rhodolite garnet is a lush, rosy Bordeaux red gem created from a rare naturally occurring mixture of pyrope and almandine garnet.

The word garnet originates from the Latin word "garanatus," meaning "seed like," referring to the richly colored pomegranate fruit. While they share a common crystal make-up with diamond and spinel, and similar refractive qualities, garnets come from a separate group of minerals. Though several varieties of red garnet are present on every continent, other types (orange spessartite, hessonite, green demantoid and tsavorite) are sparse. Besides its beauty and variety, the garnet has a strength that makes it a working stone. A garnet necklace was unearthed in a grave dating back to 3000 BCE, emphasizing this gemstones durability. Geologists use garnets to determine the genesis of some rocks via geothermobarometry, the science of determining at which temperatures and pressures igneous and metamorphic rocks took shape. Garnet sand is used for precision cutting of steel and in making glass lenses. Rhodolite Garnet was first discovered in 1882 in the hills of North Carolina. The word rhodolite means rose stone, from the Greek words "rho'don" meaning rose and "lithos" meaning stone. Orissa rhodolite garnet is a unique pyrope-almandine member of the garnet family. This naturally occurring combination gives it an unusually high refractive index and exceptional brilliance. This rare variety of garnet displays a range of shades, from pale rose-red with hints of purple to deep, grape purples with secondary tones of intense rose-red. The rich color of Orissa rhodolite garnet is the exact color of the rough removed from the mine. It is not enhanced in any way. Miners in Orissa recently found some exceptional rough of this gemstone. We were very lucky to be one of the first companies to learn about this find because of our long relationship with the mine owners. Our buyers immediately went to India to secure these gemstones. Gemstones larger than two carats are extremely rare finds and can be very expensive.

  • The garnet family has a long history that dates back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. In the Bible, Noah used a lamp from garnet to guide his Ark through the darkness of night. The garnet was a symbol of one of the first 12 tribes of Israel.
  • Ancient explorers and travelers wore garnets as an amulet to inspire success in commerce and ensure safe journeys.
  • Tribes in Asia and the American Southwest used to make bullets from garnets, thinking that they caused greater wounds that took longer to heal and cut through the skin better. These bullets were used up until the 19th Century.
  • In medieval times, people used garnets to ease depression, ward off bad dreams and alleviate ailments of the liver. Garnet was also believed to soothe arthritis.
  • Garnet symbolizes purity, truth, love and compassion.


Mined in the state of Orissa, off the Bay of Bengal in Eastern India, Orissa rhodolite garnet is popular for its fire and brilliance. Reserve for this gemstone is scarce. With low availability, this gemstone is carefully mined with traditional methods, using small tools like picks and shovels.

  • Ranks 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
  • Colors of garnet include wine red, reddish pink, golden orange, yellow, yellow-green, moss green, emerald green, blue, purple and brown.
  • Garnets are their own gemstone family of closely related silicate gems sharing the same isometric structure.
  • Birthstone for January and the Zodiac sign of Aquarius.
  • Traditional gift for second anniversaries.
  • Almandine garnets are the official state mineral for Connecticut and New York. Star garnet is the official gemstone for Idaho.
  • 100 percent natural stone; no additional treatments.