3 stone cushion garnet Blue Nile3 stone cushion garnet Blue Nile

Second Year Anniversary Gift Guide: Garnet Jewelry

The traditional gift for a second year wedding anniversary is garnet jewelry, representing passion, love, commitment, and friendship.

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The second year wedding anniversary is not one that often gets much attention - but it should! By this time, you and your significant other have successfully intermingled your lives and are forging ahead with unified plans for the future. As you have now settled into a rhythm of daily life, this is a perfect time to give your partner a second anniversary gift that reminds them how much you love and appreciate their companionship.

The traditional gemstone gift for a second year anniversary gift is the garnet, representing passion, love, commitment, and friendship.  Garnet gifts may be especially meaningful to those born in January, the month whose birthstone is the garnet. 

Each of the trillion-cut garnets set in this 14K yellow gold ring may represent one year of marriage.
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at Angara

What are Garnets?

Garnets are among the first gemstones to be worn as adornments with the earliest jewelry discovered dating back more than 5000 years.  With a Mohs Hardness score of 6.5-7.5 depending on the variety, garnets are durable enough to be worn and shown off every day. Known for its saturated hues, there is an abundance of different varieties which express a number of body colors. It is slight variations in the chemical makeup of individual gems which determines their ultimate color expression. 

14k rose gold pendant angara
This 14K rose gold pendant with a diamond accent marries the deep beauty of red garnets with a powerful nature theme.
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at Angara

All totaled, there are more than 20 species of garnet, but only a few of these are considered gem-quality. Interestingly, garnets are almost never purely one variety. Rather, they often combine with each other to produce a full rainbow spectrum of possible hues. Of the types that are used in jewelry, here are the names of some of the most popular species and varieties that you are likely to encounter when shopping for a second wedding anniversary gift. 

  • Tsavorite garnets originally found in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya were given their name by Tiffany & Company in 1974 as they first introduced the gem to their US customer base. Tsavorites, a variety of the green grossular garnet group, can achieve beautiful and powerful hues that some say rival the famous color of emeralds. They also may have a bright yellow component in their body color which makes even the smallest stones pop, especially when set in yellow gold. Unfortunately, tsavorites are rare gems that are very selective about the conditions they will grow in. Thus, faceted stones weighing over three carats are an unusual find and large gems with good color expression can be highly valued. 
Gems don't have to be big to make an impression. These small and bright tsavorites set in a 14K yellow gold ring demand attention at an affordable price.
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at Angara
This impressive 4.14 ct grossular garnet has a gentle and welcoming green color.
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at Brian Gavin
  • Demantoid is another rare green variety of garnet which may show some yellow undertones. Its name means "diamond-like" because, while its green hue is an exceptionally rare body color for diamonds, its' property of dispersion - the ability to split and reflect white light as multi-colored flashes - is actually better than diamonds! These gems break the mold of what is conventionally considered desirable as the best of them contain large, eye-visible bundles of fibers called "horsetails" which can fill the interior of the crystal. Prized since their discovery in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1868, demantoids are a rare and valuable garnet variety. The imperial jeweler Faberge famously created beautiful demantoid creations. However, this type of garnet is a bit softer than most other types, so jewelry should be worn with care.
  • Rhodolite is a garnet whose body color may be reddish purple or purplish red. Its name is a combination of the Greek words rhodon, meaning "rose", and lithos, meaning "stone". While rhodolite garnets technically have a particular chemical makeup, many in the trade identify any predominantly purple garnet as a rhodolite. Happily, the supply of rhodolite garnets is both stable and plentiful, and they are one of the best-selling of all garnet varieties. 
14k yellow gold rhodolite james allen
The beautiful rhodolite garnets used in this pair of 14K yellow gold earrings show some purple.
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at James Allen
  • Almandine garnets are closely related to rhodolites on a chemical level, but they contain higher concentrations of iron which cause the gems to express a dominant purple hue that is mixed with red. Named for the ancient Asian city Alabanda, the Ancient Romans particularly favored these especially strong garnets. Today, it is said that almandine garnets are the most commonly found of all possible garnet varieties and are mined in many countries. 
  • Spessartine is a vivid orange garnet that is highly distinctive, but, like many predominantly orange-tinted gems, is also relatively scarce. Their lively color may include red, yellow, or brown and it is not unusual to find gems weighing up to ten carats. Named for the German district Spessart, spessartine garnets may be a little more expensive than the more abundant red garnets. Note that some vendors may refer to spessartine garnets as spessartite.
spessartine pendant set Angara
A fresh take on the Evil Eye design, this delicate spessartine pendant set in 14K white gold is a unique gift perfect for a second wedding anniversary.
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at Angara
  • Pyrope garnets are predominately red gems that were extremely popular in the Victorian era thanks to an abundant deposit in the modern-day Czech Republic which produced stones often called Bohemian garnets. The ancient Greeks and Romans also greatly favored this gem and the name "pyrope" comes from the Greek word pyropos, which means "fiery-eyed". Most of the material being recovered today yields faceted stones weighing under two carats. 
The GIA certificate for this remarkable 11.68 ct cushion cut garnet states that it is a pyrope-almandine gem.
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at Angara
  • Malaya garnets, alternatively known as umbalite, are a combination of spessartine and pyrope garnet types. Discovered in the 1960s in the Umba River Valley of East Africa, they are newcomers to the market. Malaya gems show mixtures of pink, yellow, orange and red hues. Also, some Malaya garnets express a rare, naturally occurring color-change effect which allows the gem to express entirely different body colors under incandescent versus fluorescent lighting conditions. 

Garnet History

Garnets are one of the most abundant gemstones on the planet, with fruitful sources located on each and every continent. Most material is dominantly red or purple while orange and green gems tend to be harder to find. There are even some exceptionally rare blue gems. The best garnets seem to glow with an inner light. 

The word "garnet" comes from the Latin term granatus, a word meaning "pomegranate", referencing the red color of many varieties. Thanks to the wide availability of the gem and the fact that people have valued its beauty for so long, it has come to carry significant symbolic meaning. As mentioned above, garnets are associated with close interpersonal connections. Thought to boost passion and understanding between partners, they are also affiliated with the enduring power of life force and credited with stabilizing the mood of their wearer.

red garnet pearl drop angara
This deep red garnet with pearl drop pendant in 14K white gold shines is the perfect second anniversary gift for someone born in June.
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at Angara

Garnets are mentioned multiple times in Biblical literature. For instance, there was a garnet set in the breastplate of the high priest and Noah was said to have mounted a glowing garnet on his ship to illuminate the surrounding waters. 

Historically, red garnets in particular were proudly worn in ancient Egypt by the pharaohs, both living and dead. Understanding the superior durability of garnets, while also appreciating their beauty, the ancient Romans came up with a practical use for the gem. Familial or official seals were carved into the face of polished garnets and set in signet rings. More than just ornamental jewelry, these garnet rings were pressed into wax to seal or mark official documents and other types of correspondence. 

gold garnet diamond angara
Just like in centuries past, this 14K white gold garnet and diamond ring is personalized for the wearer.
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at Angara

More recently, red garnets were an especially popular gem during the Middle Ages following a discovery of a new bountiful European deposit around the turn of the sixteenth century. Rulers, both secular and religious, prized red garnet jewelry. Just a few centuries later, the popularity of garnets experienced a resurgence during the Victorian era when red garnets from Bohemia were set in all types of jewelry.

Many buyers celebrating multiple years of marriage choose bands that feature gemstones set around the band. This ring made of 14K white gold has garnets set about halfway around the shank.
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at Angara

Garnet Jewelry Guide

Throughout history, garnets have been proudly worn by anyone who could afford them. As such, they can be fantastic gifts for anyone commemorating a second-year wedding anniversary. Another boon of garnet jewelry is that you can find pieces at many price points, so you are sure to find something perfect for your partner. Below are just a few of the many ways garnets are used in jewelry.

Garnet Rings

Of all the types of jewelry, rings are perhaps most at risk of accidental damage by impact or exposure to household chemicals. Fortunately, most garnets are durable enough to be worn regularly. Traditional garnet signet rings like the ancient Romans used are a classic and timeless gift. Also, richly colored garnets are easily paired with other colored gemstones to create unique and exciting multicolored pieces.  

This beautiful 14K rose gold ring features a central red garnet flanked by two purple rhodolite garnets and is a perfect second-year anniversary gift for anyone who loves bold jewelry.
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at Blue Nile
There is no mistaking the intent behind a gift of this double infinity knot ring with tsavorites and diamonds set in platinum.
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at Angara

Garnet Necklaces

Garnet necklaces are the perfect final touch to any outfit! Here are a few fancy and casual examples that are suitable for any occasion.

Red garnet jewelry may be accessible, but the best gems can hold their own when placed next to other valuable gemstones. Here, a red garnet is set within a diamond halo with blue and pink sapphires, an emerald, and a ruby in an 18K yellow gold necklace.
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at Blue Nile
This understated garnet-accented 14K yellow gold medallion necklace with the constellation of Aquarius is a meaningful gift for your loved one.
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at Angara

Garnet Bracelets

As there are so many garnets on the market for designers and artists to use, you can easily find pieces with multiple stones that are well-matched in both size and color. 

The tsavorite garnets used in this 14K yellow gold bracelet are all perfectly matched.
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at Angara
rose gold bangle angara
Garnets may have been used for millennia, but that doesn't mean that they are an outdated gem. This 14K rose gold bangle with diamonds and a garnet is a refreshingly simple and modern design.
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at Angara

Garnet Earrings

Thanks to saturated hues, even the most delicate garnet earrings can be standout accessories.

This pair of garnet and diamond earrings set in 14K rose gold are small enough to be worn daily and elevate even the most casual look.
This charming pair of garnet and peridot dragonfly earrings set in 14K white gold are a wonderful example of mixing and matching colored gemstones to create beautiful designs at an affordable price.
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at Angara

Garnet Cuff Links

Cuff links are a classic accessory that can be worn by anyone to add a professional edge to their outfit. 

These 14K rose gold cufflinks with garnets and diamonds creating the Harvard University insignia are the perfect accessory for any professional.
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at Angara

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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