Hessonite Gemstones - Cinnamon stone
Hessonite is sometimes mistaken to be the Cherry Zircon, and has a fiery and warm glow. This stunning and light peach-orange garnet also ranges in color all the way to a cinnamon red. It comes from the grossular Garnet family of gemstones, and it is a true collector’s item. As with all other red garnets, its color comes from the true creativity of Mother Nature.
Throughout the history of India, this gemstone, also lovingly referred to as ‘Gomethakam’ or ‘Gomedhaka’ is said to have stopped people from becoming lazy; it increased the power of the wearer and also brought good fortune. According to astrologers, when the Hessonite is worn as a talisman, it makes you happier in life and you live longer. The ancient Hindus also believed that hessonite were the ones that actually made up the fingernails of the demon they referred to as Vala.
When it comes to hardness, Hessonite has been found to be slightly softer than other garnets; this is the reason why it was given the name hessonite, which comes from the Greek word Hesson, which means inferior. However, the gemstone has a hardness value of 7 on the Mohs scale, so one can hardly say that it is inferior as a gemstone for making jewelry. It is one of the most favorite of all the garnets due to its magical and mystical colors. One of the most pronounced hessonite discovery was found in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, and there are other deposits that can be found in California and Brazil.
What are these Grossular Garnets?
Grossular, or Grossularite is a mineral species of the garnet group of gemstones, which is made of calcium and aluminum. However, you may find that some of the calcium may be replaced by ferrous iron, and the aluminum by ferric iron. The name grossular, comes from the botanical name given to the gooseberry, Grossularia. This is given in reference to the green garnet which has a similar composition, which is only found in Siberia. There are other shades of these family of gemstone, and hessonite is one of them.
Hessonite is also called the Cinnamon stone, and is a very common type of grossular. This is a gemstone that has a very characteristic red color which at times may lean towards the yellow or orange that is common in Zircon. Many years ago, Sir A. H. Church did prove that many of the gemstones, especially those that had been engraved, and which were thought to be Zircon were actually Hessonite.
When you look at the specific gravity of these gemstones, you can clearly see the difference between hessonite and zircon. Hessonite has a specific gravity of 3.64 to 3.69, while zircon has one of approximately 4.6. Hessonite is quite hard and has a hardness that is similar to that of quartz, which is at a value of 7 on the Mohs scale, while the other garnets in the same family have a hardness of about 7.5.
The placer deposits of Sri Lanka and India are the chief sources of hessonite, though the native occurrence of the matrix is not known. Other sources, as mentioned earlier, are Brazil and California.
A little more about hessonite gemstones
As mentioned earlier, this is a grossular garnet that is also called the cinnamon stone; it comes in two distinct colors and these are gold and cinnamon. When you get a true colored hessonite, it should have a golden orange color that seems to look like a combination of orange and honey, but one with a brilliant fire at the center. It is common to find hessonite specimens that have red and brown tints, which have a cinnamon appearance. The gem gravels of Sri Lanka are very rich in hessonite and practically all the global hessonite comes from this country. The other localities make up for a very small percentage. This is a gemstone that is also found in Africa in significant amounts. As is common in the gemstone world, the clearest hessonite specimens are the most cherished, but it is also common to find some that have a lot of inclusions. The inclusions look like toffee streaks which end up giving the gemstone an oily or glass-like appearance.
Hessonite is also known as Essonite, Cinnamon Stone, Jacinth or Hyacinth. The official colors are medium to dark orange and sometimes brownish orange. It is a gemstone that shows stubby and rounded crystals that have inclusions and these have a scotch-in-water or heat wave effect on the surface. It has a transparency that ranges from clear to semitransparent. It has a refractive index of 1.74 and is said to be singly refractive in nature.
The fluorescence of the gemstone when seen under long and short wave ultraviolet light makes the yellow stones look a weak orange in color. The gemstone does not exhibit any pleochroic characteristics, and has a dispersion value of 0.028.
The chemical name of hessonite is calcium aluminum silicate with a formula of Ca3Al2(SiO4)3 and has a cubic crystal system. This is a gemstone with a vitreous luster and is quite stable. It has a conchoidal to uneven fracture and does not have any cleavage. It however does show some distinct parting at certain times.
This is a gemstone that is truly unique and not very common, especially to the traditional jewelry shopper. It should be one of the gemstones to be marketed tenaciously so that it can get its due recognition.