Czech garnet is a precious stone which is found on the territory of the Czech Republic, and whose history dates back to the Middle Ages. Together with Bohemian crystal, it ranks among the traditional souvenirs.
Czech garnet is characterized by a very dark red to black colour, which is likened to the colour of pigeon blood. This Czech rarity is still used in jewellery and adorns, for example, a necklace worn by Michelle Obama, which the Czech government had made specially for her, or the sculpture of the award presented annually to the best Czech music artist, the Czech Slavík. The red vein near the town of Turnov will soon disappear, though, so you would do well to buy your ring, earrings, brooch or necklace now.
Do not make your purchase blindly, however. As is the case with all valuables, there is also a risk of buying a fake in place of a precious jewel. At best, you could buy a cheaper garnet of the almandine type, and in a worst-case scenario, a piece of glass! We therefore recommend that you avoid shopping for jewellery in the main Prague tourist areas. Some of these shops will not hesitate to cheat their customers. Their strategy is to buy a few real jewels at the Turnov plant so they can display information that they sell real Czech garnet. Their main merchandise on offer though, has got nothing in common with Czech garnet.
One small tip on how to tell genuine Czech garnet from imitations is the size of the stone. Since Czech garnet is now so rare, it is not often that you’ll come across a 6-millimeter stone. You are more likely to find yet smaller dimensions. By all means, make sure to check that the jewellery is properly hallmarked before you make a purchase and do request the jeweller to provide you with a certificate of authenticity
Points of Interest:
The price of Czech garnet set in gold is not high because of the gold, but because garnet does not go well with gold and it tends to fall out. Gold jewellery with Czech garnet therefore needs very special care, and that is what raises the price. More commonly, Czech garnet is set in silver or gold plated metals.
Since the natural source of Czech garnet is gradually drying up, old jewels with Czech garnet have become a highly-sought-after item for pawnbrokers throughout Europe. The prices of old jewellery are rising and the better preserved pieces are being reworked into new jewels. That seems to be what the future has in store for the red stone of the Czech Republic.
We recommend that you visit these two stores: J. Drahoňovský STUDIO ŠPERK and Granát Turnov (Museum of Czech Garnet Boutique). Both have a long tradition and satisfied customers.