Blue Garnet - from Tanzania; and a Happy New Year!

It is January. Happy New Year to you. January, in our industry, means 'get ready for all the brown-red and red-brown' garnet jewelry being advertised everywhere because as you've surmised, or know, Garnet is January's birthstone. And because it is always those colors in the jewelry, and maybe because of its name even, there has never been any excitement over this gemstone.

Until now.

East Africa as a gemstone source has exploded into our industry over the past 15 years, and it will be the 21st Century source of gemstones topping South East Asia and South America. This is because it is so under-explored, and the area is so vast and uninhabited. Chances are good that you could find gemstones in any river bed in Tanzania or Madagascar today!

If a single gemstone group or species could be singled out when the source of East Africa is mentioned, it has to be Garnet. And if it is not, it should be. This is because over the past 15 years, East Africa, has provided the world with garnet displaying all the colors of the rainbow, and will continue to do so as more and more undiscovered deposits are found.

"All colors?" you might say. "Garnet cannot be found in blue!" Even I was saying that up until month ago, but our magnificent world and geology has proven me (us) wrong again. A greenish blue has been found in Tanzania (near the Kenyan border) of all places, and analysed by GIA. It was a small pocket, but you can see from the pieces analysed by the GIA, there was gem material found and so the significance is not restricted to the geology world, but to the gemology world too. I will write more about this in another article, but for now, focus on Tanzania, Garnet and another color!

Garnets are exciting! They are hard and durable. You can get bright oranges, greens, purples, reds, peachy reds and pinks and pale greens. And they are competitively priced right now. It is a great material for cutters to shape and a great material for jewellers to set. This means January babies have the most exciting birthstone on the calendar and are now spoilt for choice - more than ever!

From now on, let's forget about the red-brown and brown-reds.

Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

Robert Gessner