Always a dark, rich green color, uvarovite is one of the rarest members of the garnet family. Usually only seen as druzy on matrix, these crystals are seldom faceted.
Since uvarovite crystals are usually opaque, only small corners of larger crystals have the transparency needed for faceting. Faceted pieces hardly ever exceed one carat in weight. Since these garnets are so rare, a cut specimen of any size would make a coveted prize for a collector.
It’s a shame that these garnets with emerald-like deep green color are so rarely found. Faceted uvarovites would make wonderful jewelry stones. However, uvarovite druzy specimens have also been used in beautiful raw stone designs.
“Garnet, Var. Uvarovite,” Saranovskii Mine, Saranovskaya Village, Gornoazavodskii area, Permskaya Oblast, Middle Urals, Urals Region, Russia. (Type Locality). Photo by Géry Parent. Public Domain.
Distinguishing Deep Green Garnets
Just like many emeralds, uvarovites also get their color from chromium (Cr). However, other garnet species also contain chromium, such as demantoid (andradite) and some tsavorite (grossular). These fellow garnets also share their deep green color range.
Demantoid’s specific gravity (3.82-3.88) exceeds that of uvarovite (3.40-3.80, usually 3.71-3.77). Tsavorites and uvarovites have just a slight overlap of refractive index ranges (1.72-1.744 and 1.74-1.87, respectively).
Although garnets are isometric, their optical properties can vary based on their chemistry. The presence of a large Ca (calcium) atom in uvarovite may make some specimens birefringent. This may be due to strain or symmetry reduction. Monoclinic, orthorhombic, and triclinic symmetry does occur in natural uvarovites.
Synthetic uvarovite has been used to study garnet series. Scientists have also synthesized uvarovite crystals via the flux method as part of the study of the natural birefringence mentioned previously. However, there is no known jewelry use of this material.
For information on other synthetic garnets, see the “Synthetics” section of our main garnet gem listing.
No known enhancements.
The best known source of gem-quality uvarovites, Outokumpu, Finland produces large, fine green crystals.
Other notable sources include
- United States: Northern California (in chromite deposits); Oregon.
- Afghanistan; Thetford, Quebec, Canada; China; Norway; Russia (fine crystals); South Africa.
Even though crystals may reach a size of 1-2 inches, the occasional piece with a transparent corner would likely yield a faceted gem of less than a carat.
Uvarovites have no cleavage and a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5. Thus, faceted specimens would make durable jewelry stones. However, garnets do have heat sensitivity. So, whether your gems belong in a mineral collection or jewelry box, clean them with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush.
Due to the small size of the finished gems, recommended cuts for uvarovites include freeform designs and shallow checkerboards.
Druzy uvarovites should first be cleaned carefully with compressed air. Brush carefully, since physical contact can knock loose some crystals from their matrix. Druzy pieces that have smaller crystals and little or no exposed matrix will make more durable jewelry stones.
Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.