Almandite garnet is an abundant, inexpensive gemstone most often found in a dark hue. While many people commonly call it almandite garnet, it is commonly referred to as either almadite or almadine. The name Almandite, derives its meaning from a region in Asia Minor known as Alabanda, where the stone was cut and polished in ancient times.
Hardness: Almandite is given a rating of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Color: The color of an almandite garnet is typically a reddish purple, with shades of brown or black. Some are so dark that they are nearly black in color. Because the stone is too dark as it is to be used in jewelry, the underside of an almadite is generally hollowed so that some light can pass through.
Birthstone: Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January and a suggested gemstone for the second wedding anniversary. Garnet is also associated with the zodiac sign of Aquarius.
Scarcity: Almandine is widely distributed throughout the world and the abundant deposits provide us with a relatively inexpensive supply of this gemstone. Almandine occurs most abundantly in Sri Lanka, where it has been called Ceylon-ruby. Large deposits of fine almandines were also found, some years ago, in the Northern Territory of Australia. Mistaken as rubies, they were known in trade for some time afterwards as Australian rubies. Although only small amounts of the mineral are suitable for gem use because of dark color, almandite Garnet is still the most commonly known and used gemstone from the Garnet family. It is a popular choice in the gem trade because it is natural, abundant, and inexpensive.
Value: The price of an almadine depends upon the color, clarity and luster of the gemstone. Most are fairly inexpensive but tones of higher carat which have super luster and amazing color can command high prices.
Most Common Cuts: This stone is at its finest when it is faceted into a ‘carbuncle-cut’ which is round from the top and hollow from the bottom. Generally, only small to medium-sized almandine stones are faceted because their coloration is less dark than the larger stones.
Chemical Formula: The almandine chemical formula is: Fe2+3Al2Si3O12.
Synthetic Varieties: There are no known enhancements for Almandite.
History: Natural almandine garnets date back to the Bronze Age when they were first used as gemstones as well as abrasives. There are twenty species of garnet minerals and only five are commonly used in jewelry, almandine being the most common. History tells us that almandine garnets were a popular gem throughout the ages. Almandine garnets were a huge favorite of 18th century and Victorian Era jewelers.
One artifact, the Hungarian Holy Crown, which is most likely more than 1000 years old, is one of the oldest and most famous artifacts to be adorned with almandine garnets. A large collection of ancient Sarmatian gold ornaments, many studded with almandine garnets, are displayed at the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg. Many of these artifacts were found at a burial mound at Khoklach, Russia. In neighboring Hungary, similar items to the Sarmatian items were discovered in an Avar burial ground. One specific piece, a necklace, was discovered in the grave of an Avar princess, and has five oval almandine pendants in a gold setting.
Almandine is found on almost every continent. Some of the larger deposits have been found In India, Brazil, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Australia, Greenland, Africa, Mexico, and the United States.
Rumored Healing Properties: Metaphysically speaking, some people feel that almandine gives them a sense of peace, enduring love, compassion, and balance. It is said to be markedly useful for strengthening the heart, to inspire love and to perceive truth. The almandine garnet gemstone is used in healing for its regenerative qualities and its capacity to make a person energetic and vibrant. It has also been used to treat eye and heart disorders, as well as the liver and pancreas.