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What is Almandine?

By Devon Pryor
Updated May 17, 2024
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Almandine is a mineral that belongs to the garnet group. It is the most common of the garnets, and is usually red to brown in color. Sometimes, it is so dark red that it appears to be black. Other possible colors found in this mineral include slight shades of purple or orange, and white streaks. It is sometimes called almandite, though this is generally considered a misnomer.

In terms of chemical makeup, almandine is an iron aluminum silicate. This means that it contains the chemicals aluminum, iron, silicon, and also oxygen. It can be either part of the Almandine-Pyrope Series of minerals, or the Almandine-Spessartine Series of minerals, due to chemical similarities with other members of these series. Crystals of this mineral are often found in metamorphic rocks, which are rocks that change type due to environmental factors such as pressure and heat. It is also found in pegmatite rocks, which are formed by through the melting and cooling of other rocks.

Etymologically speaking, the name almandine is thought to be an alteration of alabandicus, the name of a stone found in town of Alabanda in the country of Turkey. The common names used for this mineral often change depending on where the mineral specimens are found or whether they are tinted a certain color. For example, specimens that exhibit a purple tone is sometimes called Syrian garnet.

Almandine is found in large quantities in Sri Lanka. Those specimens found in Sri Lanka are sometimes called Ceylon-rubies. When a large deposit was discovered in South Australia, the mineral took on the common name Australian ruby, which it was called for a period following this discovery. It can also be found in the Zillertal valley in Tyrol, Austria, and in German East Africa. It's also found across many parts of the United States. For example, in Alaska, the mineral is often found embedded in mica-schist rocks.

In addition to being used as a gemstone, almandine is used may be used in industrial products as an abrasive. It may also be called Adelaide-ruby, Almandine Garnet, Oriental Garnet, Almandino, Alabandine Ruby, and Alamandine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is almandine and where is it commonly found?

Almandine is a type of garnet, a silicate mineral that is commonly deep red to reddish-brown in color. It's found in metamorphic rocks and is widespread, with notable deposits in Brazil, India, Madagascar, and the United States. Almandine is valued both as a gemstone and an abrasive due to its hardness and durability.

How is almandine used in jewelry?

Almandine is prized in jewelry for its rich, velvety color and excellent hardness, rating 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It's often cut into faceted shapes to enhance its brilliance and is set in rings, pendants, and earrings. Jewelers may refer to it as almandine garnet, and it's especially sought after for its deep red hues.

Can almandine be distinguished from other garnets?

Yes, almandine can be distinguished from other garnets by its color, which tends to be a deeper red, often with hints of brown or purple. It also has a higher specific gravity and a different refractive index compared to other garnet varieties. Gemologists use these properties, along with inclusions characteristic to almandine, for identification.

What are the metaphysical properties associated with almandine?

Almandine garnet is often associated with grounding and protective metaphysical properties. It's believed to promote self-confidence, strength, and perseverance. Many also attribute it with the ability to enhance vitality and endurance, making it a popular choice for those seeking to balance energy and improve focus.

Is almandine treated or enhanced for use in jewelry?

Almandine garnets are typically not treated or enhanced, which is one of their appealing attributes. They possess a natural beauty and color that doesn't require artificial improvement. However, like many gemstones, they may occasionally be cut or polished to showcase their best features in jewelry settings.

How should I care for my almandine jewelry?

To care for almandine jewelry, clean it with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid harsh chemicals and exposure to extreme temperatures, which could damage the stone. It's also wise to store almandine jewelry separately to prevent scratches from harder gemstones, as it has a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5.

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Discussion Comments

By chrisinbama — On May 10, 2011

@anon15556- The Sardonyx is a beautiful gemstone that has been around for several thousand years. The name “Sardonyx” actually comes from the word “sard” (I think it's Greek) which means reddish brown and the word “onyx” that means veined gem. It is known as one of August’s birthstones. The Sardonyx was also considered more valuable than sapphire or gold many years ago.

It is a variation of an onyx. It has several layers of quartz fibers that are stacked on top of each other. This eventually forms translucent and opaque solid bands of color.

A Sardonyx stone can also be white, brown, or black. The chemical composition is Silicon Dioxide. They are also known as banded agates.

By anon15556 — On Jul 14, 2008

What is the mineral/stone called sardonix?

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