GENUINE GARNET is a transparent to translucent mineral, a small precious stone (from 0.08 to 0.31” in size), fiery or blood-red in color (colored with iron with a chromium admixture). Its name derived from the Greek Pyropos, pyr = fire, ops = eye. It has a hardness number of 6.5 to 7.5. It boasts exceptional color stability, and is resistant to heat and acids.
The genuine garnet has been haphazardly collected from river silts since ancient times. The organized collection of garnet with export to the world began in the early middle ages, at the time of the great migration of nations from the 6th to 8th centuries. In the middle ages the popularity of genuine garnet wanes. A few rare goldsmith relics have been preserved from the second half of the 14th century.
It was not until the late 15th century that garnets began to be seen more often as decorations on liturgical silver, particularly chalices. The peak period came under the reign of Emperor Rudolf II, who supported cutters and introduced the right of first refusal on garnets of exceptional size. After 1700 genuine garnets became more widespread in jewelry generally. Small stones came into fashion in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century and so the Empress Mary issued a ban on the export of genuine garnets from the country, thus protecting the domestic monopoly on the mining and working of garnet. To help date garnet jewels from the 2nd third to the end of the 19th century there are two garnet setting techniques: grain and rivet (jewelry techniques). In the 19th century genuine garnet-makers hosted successful displays at industrial exhibitions. Thanks to the success of the craftsmen at the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958, genuine garnet again became part of contemporary artwork.