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Pyrope Garnet Gemstone Information

Pyrope is from the Greek word for 'fiery' referring to the bright red colour of the gemstone when exposed to sunlight. It is a variety of garnet with a colour ranging from red to purplish-red. Almandine garnet can also be a purplish-red colour and may be mistaken for pyrope garnet.

Marketeers often precede a gemstone name with it's source location and at times, even rename the gemstone. For example, deep red pyrope from South Africa was given the marketing name 'Cape Ruby'.

In Victorian time's pyrope was also called Bohemian Garnet, Bohemia was a major source location for the gem material. It was so popular at the time, imitations were made in red glass to provide cheaper alternatives and keep with demand for red stones.

Pyrope is mostly free of inclusions and when present they appear as small needle-like crystals.

Rhodolite is a mixture of almandine and pyrope garnets, it is a red to violet colour.

Colour-change garnets are a mixture of spessartine and pyrope, they appear green or bluish-grey in sunlight (daylight) and red in incandescent light (from a filament light bulb).

Source locations for pyrope include: Africa (South Africa and Tanzania), Australia, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the USA.

Physical Properties

Stone type:
Pyrope is a species of garnet.
Crystal System:
Cubic (isometric) commonly occurring as rhombic dodecahedron and icositetrahedal crystals.
Chemical Composition:
Magnesium aluminium silicate, Mg3Al2(Si04)3.
Colour:
Red to dark red, may also have a purple tint.
Lustre:
Bright vitreous.
Pleochroism:
Absent.
Dispersion:
Medium.
Hardness:
7¼ on the Mohs' scale of hardness.
Toughness:
Good.
Cleavage:
None.
Density in gm/cc:
3.7 to 3.8
Double refraction:
No.
Refractive index:
1.74 to 1.76

Common Treatments

Pyrope garnet is not normally treated. but facet-cut doublets (composite stones) are made.

Garnet topped doublets are produced, comprising a crown (upper section) of natural garnet and a pavilion (lower section) of glass. Almandine or pyrope garnet is normally used for the crown section. They can be easily identified by observing the following:

Viewing the stone from the side will show colour in the crown area only.
Close-up inspections will reveal a change in lustre at the join between the garnet and glass.
Bubbles are normally visible in the glass and/or the glue between the two layers.
Inclusions seen in the crown that are characteristic of garnet will not be seen in the pavilion.


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