Demantoid Awesome Fire

Demantoid, The Rare Beauty

If you are hearing the name demantoid for the first time, you could find it hard to relate a name like this to a gem stone. The garnet group of minerals includes andradite, the green gemstone variety of andradite is called demantoid. You might have also heard of another green garnet namely, tsavorite. Studying the origin of the name demantoid garnet provides some interesting pieces of information. Anyone who has seen a demantoid stone will agree that, the gem seems to push out fire and glitter from within. To get this fire, demantoid gems are blessed with a high dispersion factor. If you need some technical figures, you should know that the dispersion rating of demantoid is 0.057. More importantly, this dispersion factor is much higher than that posessed by diamonds.

With a fire to outshine the diamond, this garnet got it's name 'demantoid' which basically refers to it's 'diamond like' fire and glitter. Low availability and great fire are two major factors that push up the demand for demantoid garnet gem stones. There is an interesting relationship between the color of demantoid and it's visible fire. The color of demantoid garnets are basically green but can be influenced by shades of yellow or blue. While many jewelry buyers prefer a saturated green for their gem, it is the lighter shades of demantoid garnet stones that best bring out the fire in the gem stone. So when you are looking for a demantoid gem or jewel, do not shop with the notion that a particular color shade is much better than another shade. It is personal preferences that drive the demand for specific demantoid colors.

Let us try to understand in simple terms how the gushing fire effect is caused in demantoid garnet gems. When light hits the surface of the stone, it is split into many spectral hues. This causes a rainbow effect which becomes visible to the naked eye. if you had to compare the two green garnets namely, tsavorite and demantoid the demantoid outshines the tsavorite. Just remember that the 'power' of the fire in demantoid garnets is better visible in stones that have lower color saturation. If you lay more stress on color saturation, you would need to compromise on the degree of fire thrown up by the stone. On the other hand you would have to choose a lighter color shade for your demantoid garnet, if you want to see good fire.

Besides color and clarity, size and shape are important issues that need to considered when choosing a gemstone. It is now safe to say that most of the demantoid garnets released into the gemstone markets are 1 carat or lower in terms of weight. While you could come across demantoid gems that fall in the 1 to 2 carat range, they generally level off at a weight range of around 1.6 to 1.8 carats per piece. Despite the small size, the price per carat of this gemstone does not get any cheaper. You will therefore find low purchase volumes of loose demantoid gems being made. These stones are used as accent stones in various jewelry applications. For example if you wanted to get a pair of demantoid gemstone earrings, we would suggest 5mm rounds for the center surrounded by small white diamonds. For a demantoid ring, use the gemstone to add accent and highlight the main gem. A large center demantoid gemstone would cost a fortune and you would be competing with some of the wealthiest people on our planet to get it!

In gemological terminology an eye clean gem is one where no inclusions or fissures can be seen with the naked eye. It is generally accepted that the fewer the inclusions or complete absence of them, puts a higher price tag on the gemstone. Demantoid plays different game here, stones mined in Russia contain inclusions in the form of a bunch that can resemble the tail of a horse. Such inclusions are desirable and increase the value of the stone. Gem experts could not come up with a better name and labelled them 'horse tail' inclusions. Gemologists have analyzed horsetail formations in demantoid garnet and given a clear explanation for them. It is now known that very fine fibres made of byssolite and chrysotile are what constitute the horsetail inclusions in demantoid garnets. Both these elements belong to the asbestos group. The bunch of fibres originate at one point and then branch out in a formation. A good gem cutter will orient the piece of rough demantoid in such a away that the fibres seem to be gushing outwards from the bottom center of the gemstone.

Horsetail inclusions help determine that the demantoid garnet is natural. Even in cases where they are not clearly visible to the naked eye, confirmation by a magnifying loupe inspection is sufficient to determine the authenticity of the stone. Before we move on from the discussion on horse tail inclusions in demantoids, there is one important thing that needs to be mentioned. Russia is not the only source for demantoid garnet, Namibia and more recently Madagascar also have commercial mining for this stone. However it is only the Russian demantoid garnet that shows the horsetail inclusions. So when you come across a demantoid gemstone, the absence of horsetail inclusions does not confirm that the stone is not genuine. There were some very rare reports of Namibian demantoid garnets showing such inclusions but, neither volume nor solid proof were available to confirm that claim.

The first discovery of demantoid was made in the Ural moutains of Russia. Conflicting reports suggest that the year was 1853 or 1886. Everyone seemed to be aware of the scarcity of demantoid even in those days. The expensive stone became a privilege of the rich and powerful. Mining activity in Russia is almost always controlled by natural elements like rain and snow. So it is not a whole year operation that produced demantoid for the jewelry market. In 1996 the "Green Dragon" mine in Namibia started producing demantoid garnets, the gemstone world found one more source for this rare and highly desirable gemstone. One thing that clearly differentiated Namibian demantoids from the Russian demantoids, was the lack of horse tail inclusions in the Namibian stones. As production from Russia gets scant in terms of quantity and quality, gemstone buyers are now insisting less on horsetail inclusions and putting emphasis on color and fire of the demantoid garnet. In recent years, Madagascar has also started building a market share for demantoid garnets mined in the country.

Like always, we will talk about the durability of the stone and also ways to clean it. Coming basically from the garnet group of gems, demantoid has a hardness of 6.5 to 7. Considering that this measurement is on a scale of 1 to 10, you can say that demantoid has good durability to be used in jewelry applications. It is ofcourse good to keep your gemstone jewelry away from hard objects no matter what the gemstone is. The best way to clean demantoid garnet jewelry is to rinse it in clean water at room temperature. Add a small amount of mild soap to the water but, make sure to rinse the jewel once the cleaning operation is complete. Keep the gemstone away from heat and acids or strong chemicals. Steam cleaning is surely not recommended for demantoid garnets. Ultrasonic cleaners are risky as the existence of liquid inclusions (if any) would make such cleaners unsafe.