Demantoid Garnet Buying Guide title image
By Richard W. Hughes

Demantoid is the name given to the rich green variety of andradite garnet. The gem was first discovered in Russia and the name is derived from its diamond-like adamantine luster.

While the color of demantoid never equals that of the finest emerald, an emerald-green is the ideal. The color should be as intense as possible, without being overly dark or yellowish green. The color of demantoid is believed to be due to chromium. It should be noted that demantoid’s fire is best seen in the lighter, less saturate gems. Thus the color preference is a matter of individual taste. Some people will choose an intense body color and less fire, while others prefer a lighter body color and more fire.

Demantoid photo image
Ural Pearls. A bevy of beauties from the Ural Mountains in Russia. Demantoid such as this has not been seen since the time of the Czars. The cut stones are over 4 cts. each. Photo: Jeff Scovil/Pala International

Demantoid garnet generally looks best under daylight. Incandescent light makes it appear slightly more yellowish green. Because of its high dispersion, demantoid looks great in the same type of lighting as diamond, i.e., multi-point (as opposed to diffuse) lighting.

In terms of clarity, demantoid is relatively clean. Thus when buying one should expect eye-clean or near-eye-clean stones. Demantoids often contain radiating needle inclusions that are termed “horsetails.”

Horsetail Inclusion photo image
A classic example of a horsetail inclusion in a Russian demantoid garnet. Photo: Wimon Manorotkul

In the market, demantoids are found mainly as round brilliant or cushion cuts. Cabochon-cut demantoids are not often seen.

Demantoid is among the most expensive of all garnets, with prices similar to those fetched by fine tsavorite (the other green garnet). But like all gem materials, low-quality (i.e., non-gem quality) pieces may be available for a few dollars per carat. Such stones are generally not clean enough to facet. Prices for demantoid vary greatly according to size and quality. At the top retail end, they may reach as much as US$10,000 per carat.

Stone Sizes
Demantoid is rare in faceted stones above 2 cts. Fine demantoids above 5 carats can be considered world-class pieces. Most stones tend to be less than 1 ct.

The original locality for demantoid was in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Today, deposits of lesser material exist in Iran, Italy and Namibia, but the Russian material remains the standard by which the gem is judged.

Demantoid Garnet In Matrix photo image
Another Ural pearl in matrix. Photo: William Larson

Some demantoid garnet is heat-treated to improve the color. The resulting stones are stable under normal wearing conditions.

Demantoid garnet has never been synthesized, but a number of imitations exist. These include green glass and green YAG.

Faceted Demantoid Garnets photo image
This suite of 0.75–2.0 ct. demantoid garnets shows the typical range of colors possible. The ideal body color would be the center stone, which is not too light or dark, but the lighter tones show off demantoid's fire to better effect. Photo: Wimon Manorotkul; Gems: Pala International

Properties of Demantoid Garnet

  Demantoid Garnet (a variety of andradite garnet)
Composition Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3
Hardness (Mohs) 6.5 to 7
Specific Gravity 3.84
Refractive Index 1.888; Singly refractive
Crystal System Cubic
Colors Light to deep green
Pleochroism None
Dispersion 0.057; this is among the highest of all gems, even higher than diamond
Phenomena None
Handling Ultrasonic: generally safe, but risky if the gem contains liquid inclusions
Steamer: not safe
The best way to care for demantoid garnet is to clean it with warm, soapy water. Avoid exposing it to heat or acids
Enhancements Some demantoid is heat treated to improve the color
Synthetic available? No

Further Reading

The Collector Gem Buying Guides

In addition to the above, please visit the Learning Vault at for many additional articles on gems, minerals and mining.

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