Rhodolite Garnet: A Guide to This Pink Gemstone

February 12, 2019 3 min read

rhodolite garnet guide

We just sold the most amazing rhodolite garnet last week and I'm missing it! It was a classic cushion cut shape set into a sleek and modern yellow gold half bezel - the perfect set up to show off the beauty of the gemstone. We posted it on our Instagram page and it quickly got snatched up. Packaging that one up for our customer, I am having a little bit of rhodolite garnet withdrawal. Here's my medicine - a little post about one of my favorite gemstones and all the other beauties we still have in our four shops!

What Is A Rhodolite Garnet?

Rhodolite garnet, meaning “Rose Stone” in Greek, is often called raspberry garnet because of the pink/purple undertones to the dominant red color. It is one of our favorite gemstones at MSJ because of the liveliness of its sparkle, the depth of the pink color, and the affordability in comparison to other gemstones in the same color range (like tourmaline and sapphire).

Country of Origin | Source
The finest rhodolite garnet comes from the island of Sri Lanka. We have been lucky enough to travel over to Sri Lanka to buy these gemstones directly from the local people who source, cut and sell these gemstones and set them into antique mountings for our customers. Deposits have also been discovered in Tanzania and Mozambique.  Though we have traveled to Tanzania to buy Tanzanite, we have not purchased any rhodolite garnet from that source!

Rhodolite garnet from Tanzania. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA. Courtesy: Dr. Eduard J. Gübelin Collection

Cutting | Faceted and Cabochon 
When buying rhodolite garnet, it is almost always already cut and faceted. Very rarely we have found the stone cut into cabochon form. Generally cabochons are fashioned out of more included material and set into materials like sterling silver.  

Rhodolite Garnet Value | Color, Saturation and Carat Weight
Rhodolites can be found in all variations of pink/red; rosy-pink, raspberry-red, purple-pink, purplish red. The most sought after rhodolite garnets are the gemstones with raspberry hue with red body color. Sri Lankan stones are notorious for having this beautiful raspberry-red color range!

As with many colored gemstones, the greater the saturation of color, the more valuable the gemstone. As soon as the stone tips that scale, and become too saturated, the stone begins to lose value rapidly. As always, the liveliness of the gemstone, often due to the way it was cut, is an important feature.  

Like all fine gemstones, the higher the carat or weight, the more valuable the price per carat is. Fine rhodolite garnets can fetch 2-5 times the price as red material!  

Rhodolite Garnet Inclusions | Gem Identification; Hardness and Refractive Index
Like all garnet, rhodolite has a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. When tested on a refractometer, to get its refractive index, the stone falls somewhere between pyrope and almandite garnets (Pyrope 1.720-1.756 and Almandite 1.770 - 1.820).

Often we identify garnet based on our experience of color and inclusions, but if there is any question, we will perform a refractive index on the stone. Rhodolites typically have small crystal inclusions that are not visible to the naked eye.  

Have a question about one of our Rhodolite Garnets or any of our pieces? Contact us here.  

See more Rhodolite Garnet here.

Read about Demantoid Garnets here.

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