There is a wide range of garnet varieties, making it one of the largest gemstone family on the planet. Garnet is known for its red hues and relative affordability. This view is so strong in people’s mind that they’re often surprised to find out that there are other garnet varieties out there.
Uvarovite is a type of garnet and it also happens to be the rarest and among the most unique. Finding good quality uvarovite can be difficult and most people know very little about this little-known gemstone. If you’re thinking about adding an uvarovite to your jewelry collection, keep reading.
We’ll cover what an uvarovite garnet is, what makes it special and how to evaluate one before you buy.
What is Uvarovite?
For a detailed explanation about what a garnet is, check our article that covers the garnet gemstone. Here we’re only going to focus on the uvarovite garnet.
Uvarovite is an extremely rare garnet variety, made of calcium chromium silicate. It was discovered in 1832 by Henri Hess who named it after a Russian statesman, Semenovitch Uvarov. Most Uvarovite comes from the Ural Mountains in Russia and is found in the form of druzy. Some other sources are Finland, Italy, Turkey and the US.
This is the only gemstone in the garnet family that is consistently idiochromatic, which means that it comes in only one main color. Uvarovite is distinguishable by its vivid, striking bright green hue. Very rarely does natural, undyed drusy have such a striking color as uvarovite.
The gemstone shows a glittering sparkle as the tiny crystals interact with light. This makes uvarovite an excellent gemstone to wear under lights, as this would increase its glittering effect and make it stand out beautifully.
Uvarovite is almost always opaque, but the crystals can sometimes be transparent. Because the crystals are very small and opaque, it’s rare that a transparent gemstone can be faceted out of it. When that happens, it’s highly prized and sought after by collectors.
Most uvarovite is in the form of druzy, which is when tiny crystals hold onto a host rock, known as a matrix. This is what gives uvarovite its quintessential look. Sometimes, other crystals can be found along with the uvarovite druzy but because uvarovite is so rare this is often overlooked. Clarity grading for uvarovite is not a relevant consideration.
Having said that, when purchasing the stone, look for uvarovite that is vibrant and even in color. In some uvarovite rocks, like this one, you’ll notice that there is as much host rock color as there is uvarovite. Avoid these stones if you want a beautiful uvarovite piece.
Uvarovite crystals are typically not faceted but the matrix is often cut into basic shapes in the creation of jewelry pieces. The stone is commonly used in its rough form, or in geometric shapes such as triangles, ovals and circles. The main point that jewelers have in mind when cutting uvarovite is to maximize the rough, with minimal wastage.
Because of its rarity, uvarovite is not a mainstream gemstone and you wouldn’t normally be able to find it at the local jewelry store.
A quick search on sites like Etsy show a range of uvarovite druzy jewelry. These are commonly made combining the gemstone with precious metals like yellow and white gold or silver.
Uvarovite in yellow gold colored settings has a classic, rich appearance while silver hued metals give a more casual look to the stone.
While garnets are generally durable enough to wear in all types of gemstones, uvarovite is quite fragile as a druzy. Care must be taken when wearing uvarovite to ensure that the stone remains beautiful for a long time.
While uvarovite earrings, pendants and brooches can be worn often, wearing uvarovite bracelets and rings should be done with care as these are high-exposure jewelry.
How to Clean and Care for Uvarovite
Although uvarovite has a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.5. However, because it’s typically used in druzy form, care needs to be taken to ensure that the crystals don’t separate from the matrix.
Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners on these gemstones as the vibrations could cause the crystals to damage. It’s best to use a mild soap with warm water and a soft brush to gently clean the stone and keep it sparkling.
Store the stone separately in a pouch or jewelry box, away from harder objects that could damage it.
Meaning and Symbolism of Uvarovite
Uvarovite is believed to be a healing stone and is valued as such. It’s believed to assist in alleviating certain allergies, sexual dysfunction and in strengthening the body’s organs.
The stone is also thought to bring emotional stability, optimism and calmness for a stressed person, and enhances independence and individuality.
Because of its brilliant green color, uvarovite is sometimes associated with purity, fertility, rebirth and renewal.
For those born in January, uvarovite can be considered a birthstone as it is a variety of garnet, the traditional January birthstone.
Where to Buy Uvarovite
Uvarovite is so rare that it’s not easy to come across well-crafted uvarovite jewelry. Searching online is probably your best bet in finding a high-quality uvarovite piece. Because uvarovite is so rare, there aren’t standard value ranges for the stone.
Take it on a case by case basis and carefully examine the stone to make sure that the piece is worth its price. Each uvarovite is unique and different so you know you’ll be getting something that is truly special.
Uvarovite is a rare gemstone that can be crafted into stylish and unique jewelry. Because it’s not a mainstream gemstone, finding uvarovite jewelry can be difficult. However, it’s worth the effort due to its rarity.