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History of the Catalan Garnet

The evolution of the garnet over time...

The stone – the garnet

Garnets are fine (semi-precious) stones that belong to the family of isomorphic gems (identical crystalline structure) and come in various colours (from white to green).

The main varieties are pyrope, almandin, spessartite, grossular, andradite and uvarovite. The garnet owes its name to the rounded appearance of its crystals: the word “garnet” comes from the Latin “granus” meaning “grain”. Hardness index: 6.5 – 7.5.

Many garnets can be found in our region. They were mainly mined in ancient times. Mining gradually ceased during the Middle Ages as the quality of the stones was not thought suitable for use in jewellery making.

The Catalan Garnet method

The name “Catalan Garnet” has always been confusing. Contrary to popular belief, the term “Catalan Garnet” does not actually mean that the garnet comes from our region.

When we talk about the “Catalan Garnet”, we are referring to a jewel which is made up of “red” garnets for which the technique of reflecting light was preserved in the sixteenth century in North Catalonia.

Light enters the stone and is reflected back by a mirror placed at the base of the bezel. When the light is reflected outwards, it displays all the colours of the stone.

  • 1 The lower part of the garnet is cut flat. This is known as a “rose cut”
  • 2 The paillon or foil (reflector mirror)
  • 3 The closed bezel (stone receptacle)