Garnets are Green, Right?

February 23rd, 2012 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

We just finished this beautiful custom engagement ring that showcases a spectacular green garnet, highlighted with trapezoid shaped diamonds and set in 18K yellow gold.

The center stone is a rare green garnet from Africa, known as Tsavorite. These lively and brilliant green wonders of nature are a variety of grossular garnet  discovered by gemologist Campbell Bridges in the late 1960’s along the border region of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that have been used as gems since the Bronze Age. There are six main garnet species which are distinguished by their chemical composition– all have a silicate ion that is accompanied by two metal cations. While the most common colors of garnet are various shades of red, they can actually occur in almost any color but blue.

As with our best custom designs, this piece was a collaboration between our client, let’s call him Brian, and our intrepid design staff, daughter Jenny and myself. Brian and his fiance had been looking in our store at several pieces- he really liked one of our custom Art Deco filigree styles, but she wanted something simpler, with more architectural lines. Brian drew inspiration from one of the most famous of all architects, Buckminster Fuller, and drew this rough sketch– like many folks, he had a concept in mind, just needed our help in making it real.

Jenny translated his design into this CAD rendering- actually, this is the second version– the first was not quite right, so Jenny tweaked it just enough.

The signature feature of his design are the triangular elements down the sides of the ring shank– akin to the structures you see in Fuller’s famous geodesic domes. We think the contrast between the high polished areas and the matte indented surfaces really adds interest.


So you see, it’s not necessary to have a complete picture or idea of what you want for a successful custom design. The real key is communication back and forth. Our CAD system makes the design process efficient and easy– we can show you what your piece will look like before it is made in precious metal.

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