Demantoid Garnets

Antique Demantoid and Diamond Cluster Ring in Yellow Gold, circa 1900.
Antique Demantoid and Diamond Cluster Ring in Yellow Gold, circa 1900.
Ref: 13852

Thursday 10th June 2010

Demantoid is one variety of many from the garnet group of gemstones, garnets being most widely recognized in their deep red form.  Demantoid garnets, however, are marked by a distinctive intense green to yellow-green hue, caused by the presence of the element chromium in its chemical makeup. In addition there are three other types of green garnets--uvarovite, tsavorite, and grossularite-andradite--though demantoid garnets have two properties which make them special not only among the green garnets, but among all gems.  The first is its strong fire, also known as dispersion, or the splitting of light into its individual spectral colours.  Demantoid garnets are one of the few gems which posses this property to such a great extent—even more than in diamonds—emanating a rainbow of colours from within a deep green body.  In fact, the name derives from the Flemish word ‘demant’ meaning diamond, due to its diamond-like lustre and dispersion.  The other unusual feature, one that is completely unique, found only in demantoid garnets, are what are called ‘horsetail’ inclusions.  Not found in every specimen, this distinctive internal feature is composed of curved needle-like tubular crystals radiating from a single point, resembling a horse’s tail.

Demantoid garnets also have a distinctive and interesting history.  Though some varieties of garnets have been known since antiquity, demantoids were only discovered in 1853, in the Ural Mountains of Russia.  It quickly became a coveted gem, first in Russia within the court of Tsar Nicholas I, and then spreading in popularity to Europe and America.  The eminent Russian court jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé used the stone in many of his imperial commissions, as did prominent jewellers such as Tiffany and Boucheron.  After the Russian revolution the stone fell from fashion, mainly due to a cessation of mining the gem in the newly established USSR.  Due to the fall of the Soviet system in the early 1990s, coupled with the discovery of other sources of the stone, the most significant in Namibia in 1996, demantoid garnets, though still extremely rare, are experiencing a renaissance of appreciation. They make a unique gift for anyone with a January birthday, for which garnet is the birthstone.

Diamond and demantoid garnet cross over ring, Russian, circa 1880.
Ref: 13830
Antique demantoid and diamond triple cluster ring, circa 1895.
Antique demantoid and diamond triple cluster ring, circa 1895.
Ref: 14860
Antique Opal, Demantoid and Diamond Ring in Yellow Gold.
Antique Opal, Demantoid and Diamond Ring in Yellow Gold.
Ref: 14253
front-view-Enamel and Demantoid Pearl Brooch.
Enamel and Demantoid Pearl Brooch.
Ref: 13343
Rare demantoid and diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 13434

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A long established retailer of fine period jewellery, Berganza the jewellers is based in the heart of Hatton Garden, London’s historic jewellery quarter. We specialise in the finest examples of ancient, antique and vintage engagement rings- each one unique, hand crafted and expertly created. We are proud to have one of the largest collections of antique and vintage diamond engagement rings as well as natural gemstone engagement rings in the world, our inventory boasts over two thousand rings. We are fascinated by the history, myth, tradition and design of engagement rings and their evolution over the last two millennia.

We believe in only offering exceptional pieces from each design period, from Ancient Roman intaglio seal rings, Viking twisted rings through to rare gem-set Medieval pieces, Georgian, ornate Victorian, elegant Edwardian, bold Art Deco and retro vintage designs. Each piece has a unique historical background and dates to a time when jewellery was crafted by hand in the days before mass-production, so no two are alike. We deal in rarity and as such have a vast collection of posy rings, the precursors to 'modern' wedding rings, which are most often only available to be viewed in museums. Berganza also has an extensive selection of other types of jewellery such as antique earrings from simple stud earrings through to ornate drop earrings, the finest quality from each of the historical design periods. Another specialty are antique and vintage one-off signed pieces of jewellery by the most famous of jewellery houses such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Oscar Heyman Brothers and Boucheron but to name a few. These pieces of jewellery ooze the glamour of bygone eras and are highly sought after today.

Every item of jewellery is set with hand cut diamonds or natural and unenhanced gemstones, often from mines long since depleted. We are proud to include in our compilation, jewellery set with old mine diamonds from India and Brazil, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds and Kashmir, Ceylon and Burmese sapphires. Our team of specialists are trained in all aspects of gemmology and history of jewellery design, so we are able to select the finest quality pieces of jewellery for our extensive one-of-a-kind stock. Our expertise in this area is unparalleled and our shared passion for antique jewellery is paramount to our business.

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