In 1853, some Russian children from the Central Urals village of Elizavetinskoye came across bright green pebbles in the spring runoff in the Bobrovka River. Originally thought to be peridot, they were later identified by Finnish mineralogist Nils von Nordensheld as a hitherto-unknown green variety of andradite garnet.
This was the first time garnet had been found in any color other than red or orange and it created an immediate stir. Soon the St. Petersburg workshop of Fabergé was creating stunning pieces utilizing the little green jewels that von Nordensheld proposed be called demantoid, due to their diamond-like appearance. The name was certainly appropriate, as the dispersion of demantoid actually exceeds that of diamond itself.
Since the original discovery, demantoid has also been found in Namibia, Madagascar and Iran. Found in only on a few places in the world, it is simply too rare to use in mass-produced jewelry. The majority of demantoid garnets are below one-half carat in size. Gems larger than two carats are considered extremely rare. Only a handful of quality demantoids have ever been faceted larger than 5-6 ct.
Colors of demantoid vary from vivid green to slightly olive and brownish green. Russian demantoids are considered the finest. Namibia’s Green Dragon mine near Tubussis is also a major producer.
Many collectors dream of having a demantoid because they know this is one of the rarest stones on Planet Earth. This “Gem of the Czars” is not just one of the most precious members of the garnet family, but is one of the most precious gems of any kind..