Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bohemian Garnet

The garnet is one of the oldest known minerals that were used for decoration and rituals. In past they were called "carbunculus", but this name was generally used for fiery red stones, for eg. rubys too. The garnets were used by old Greeks and Romans and also by the civilisations in northern Africa, but one of the oldest artefacts is a cylinder seal form Mesopotamia (21. cent. BC). The garnets spread more during the Alexander the Great´s reign (356-323 BC), the garnets were considered as precious as diamond, saphires or rubys. Today´s name garnet comes probably from Latin word "grannum" and was created by a philosopher and theologian Albertus Magnus in 1559.
 
One of the symbols of the Czech Republic are Bohemian Garnets. The Bohemian Garnets became popular during the reign of Rudolf II (1576-1610). A lot of tourists want to bring home a jewellry made of famous Bohemian Garnets as a souvenir and a reminder of the great time they had in the Czech Republic. One of the evidences of this thesis is the quantity of shops offering (Bohemian) garnets near the main tourist routes. The problem with the "Bohemian" garnets sold in these shops is the fact they are quite often not the genuine Bohemian Garnets. It is said, that in 13 of 15 cases the Bohemian Garnets are not genuine, they are some other cheaper stones or just a glass. But how is this possible?
 
The sellers are using clever tricks to delude the customers, of course. They are issuing fake certificates or "offering some other brand that is not called Bohemian Garnet". The Bohemian Garnet is a fiery red Pyrope stone of the garnet family that has been mined in Bohemia from the 13th century. The cheaper garnets often offered in these shops have a brownish colour that are the Almadine variety of garnets or are just a coloured glass. Another thing one should be aware of is the size of the stones, Almadine garnets are bigger than the Pyrope garnets. One should also keep a receipt where a type of the metal and stones used is written (the stone should be called Bohemian garnet = český granát).
 
In these days only one firm is mining and distributing processed Bohemian Garnets, Granát Turnov, that was established in 1950s, but one could find beautiful antique jewells that are genuine (and I like them often more than the modern creations) although they don´t have the mark G on it´s back.
 
Bohemian Garnet, red, Czech Garnet
These pieces were shown at the exhibition Vital Art Nouveau 1900 at the Municipal House in Prague.

Resources:
Česká televize. Kupujete český granát? Asi není pravý. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/domaci/98736-kupujete-cesky-granat-asi-neni-pravy/, 4. 4. 2014.
Český rozhlas. Many shops found to be selling fake Bohemian garnets. http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/many-shops-found-to-be-selling-fake-bohemian-garnets, 4. 4. 2014.
Finanční noviny. Jak správně nakupovat šperky s českými granáty. http://www.financninoviny.cz/zpravy/jak-spravne-nakupovat-sperky-s-ceskymi-granaty/472141, 4. 4. 2014.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info. I do love garnets

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I love them too, but am so sorry that one cannot be sure when buying some :/ I wanted to buy a piece, but after reading about this and seing that the stones really are brownish red, I restrained.

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