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What Is Grossular Garnet?

What Is Grossular Garnet?

Grossular garnet is a major type of garnet and is made of calcium-aluminum silicate. It is known for its swirling patterns which are more visible under a microscope. This is due to the presence of diopside crystals and irregular streaks at grain boundaries. Grossular garnets are a popular material for gemstones.

This stone is associated with abundance and prosperity. It carries the nurturing energies of Mother Earth, with its orange to yellow varieties symbolizing the hope that a captivating sunrise brings and the green variety representing growth and empowerment.

Find out more about this magnificent stone.


The Physical Properties of Grossular Garnet

Grossular garnets have different species that come in a range of colours. These colours depend on the amount of iron, manganese, and chromium present in the stone. High iron content yields brown and green colours. A stone with less than 2% of iron shows a pale colour or no colour at all. Chromium and vanadium give grossulars a dark green (tsavorite) to a yellowish green (merelani) shade.

The most popular varieties are tsavorite and hessonite. Tsavorite is a dark green grossular (mined in Tsavo National Park in Kenya) which consists of about 80% vanadium and 20% chromium. Hessonite, also called cinnamon stone, is a reddish orange to yellowish orange grossular species. Iron and manganese give the stone its orange colour.

Grossular crystals have a hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.5 and can be transparent to opaque. They make a beautiful jewellery stone since they resist scratching from household dust.

The History of Grossular Garnet

The name grossular comes from the latin grossularia, the botanical name for gooseberry. Green grossular garnets were often likened to the grape-like gooseberries because of their colour and shape.

Several years ago, grossular was called grossularite by the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1808. In 1971, the International Mineralogical Association discouraged the use of the term.

Grossular garnet is found in limestones that have undergone contact metamorphosis together with vesuvianite, wernerite, diopside, and wollastonite.

Green grossular was first discovered in 1967 by British geologist Campbell Bridges in the mountains of Simanjiro District, northeast of Tanzania. Bridges was reportedly murdered in 2009 (reportedly due to a dispute over Bridges' gemstone mine) on his property in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.

However, the gemstone was known only to mineralogists in 1974 when Tiffany and Co promoted the stone. The name tsavorite was proposed by Henry Platt, president of Tiffany and Co, in honor of Tsavo East National Park

Hessonite derives its name from the Greek word esson, meaning inferior. This is in reference to the stone's low hardness and density compared to other garnet varieties. Since ancient times, this orange grossular has been a valuable gemstone among the Greeks and Romans. They used hessonite for their jewellery and for their cameo and intaglio pieces.

Grossular is commonly found in Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, and the USA.


The Lore of Grossular Garnet

In ancient times, fire-coloured garnets were called carbuncles or fire coals. The Hebrews called it bareketh (flashing stone) or barak (lightning). Eastern legend has it that Noah suspended a carbuncle in the ark to diffuse light.

For the Greeks, the carbuncle is considered to be a lamp stone. They believed that wearing it around the neck gave its wearer the ability to see things in the dark. It's also thought that garnet could heal emotional wounds and mend fights between lovers.

Garnet is believed to increase libido and treat sexual disorders by applying it directly to the genitals. The German princess, Elizabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria or Princess Palatine, discovered that her husband Monsieur (brother of King Louis XIV) did this. Princess Palatine would tell the whole court about her husband’s predicament and wrote about it in her famous letters.

Some Asiatic tribes also used red garnets as bullets in firearms and sling bows because they pierced quickly through the skin. The stones could inflict a deadlier wound than the average bullet.

The Healing and Metaphysical Properties of Grossular Garnet

Grossular garnet soothes overwhelming emotions, especially those caused by relationship problems. Tsavorite heals emotional issues like feelings of inadequacy and renews a person's confidence in himself, his abilities, and his worth. With its warm orange colour, hessonite promotes socialization and human connection. It's a great aid for solitary persons who want to open up their lives to others and to be one with their communities.

Below are other healing properties associated with grossular crystals:


  • Frees people from emotional bondage and restores energy
  • Gives strength and courage to navigate tricky situations in life
  • As a green stone, tsavorite attracts wealth (may it be financial, physical, emotional, creative, and artistic) and opportunities.
  • Cleanses, heals, and energizes the heart chakra
  • Increases energy and vitality


  • Attracts success
  • Inspires artistic expression
  • Gives courage and initiative to start endeavors like setting up a business
  • Promotes mental and emotional clarity
  • Reduces agitation
  • Increases self-respect

Grossular garnets are used to treat the sacral, solar plexus, and heart chakras. They are believed to attract joy, good health, and abundance. Garnet is the birthstone of those born in January and the zodiac stone of Aquarius.

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Crystal Vaults. (2021, November 16). Grossular Garnet Meanings and Uses. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/grossular/

gooseberry Description, Fruit, Uses, Species, & Facts. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/plant/gooseberry

Grossular Garnet - Earth’s Treasury. (2017, June 13). Earth's Treasury. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.earthstreasury.com/gem-education/garnet/grossular-garnet/

Hessonite Meaning, Powers and History. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.jewelsforme.com/gem_and_jewelry_library/hessonite#:%7E:text=The%20name%20hessonite%20comes%20from,for%20cameo%20and%20intaglio%20pieces.

Houston, D. (2020, April 20). Grossular Garnet: Meanings, Properties and Powers. CrystalsandJewelry.com. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/grossular-garnet/

International Gem Society LLC. (2022, January 18). Grossular Garnet Value, Price, and Jewelry Information - Gem Society. International Gem Society. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.gemsociety.org/article/grossular-garnet/

Ugrandite Garnets: Grossular Garnet. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.gemstonemagnetism.com/grossular_garnet

Wikipedia contributors. (2022a, March 16). Grossular. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grossular#cite_note-4

Wikipedia contributors. (2022b, June 3). Tsavorite. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavorite