Pyrope garnet is one of many kinds of garnet gemstones. It is usually dark, blood red in color and is probably the kind most people imagine when they think of a garnet. The word "Pyrope" comes from the Greek word meaning "fiery," referring to the gemstone's fire-like brilliance due to its vitreous, or glassy, luster.
Made of a magnesium aluminum silicate, pure pyrope is rare and most often has a percentage of iron which replaces the magnesium, making it more like almandine garnet. Since pyrope garnet and almandine garnet look so much alike, checking the garnet's density (pyrope 3.6; almandine 4.3) is the most reliable test to determine its identity.
Pyrope garnet's vitreous luster is due to its high refraction index. The refraction index determines how much light is reflected off a gem. Pyrope garnet is found only in the color red which can range from light red, orange-red, purplish red, to brownish red. The usual dark red is found in small stones. Because of their deep saturated color, pyrope garnet gems that are cut into larger sizes appear too dark, almost black because they don't reflect light well. Often the stone's clarity is free of inclusions, or impurities in the mineral. Mostly used as a gemstone, pyrope garnet is a hard, durable stone, usually rating 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, and can be cut into a variety of shapes.
Garnets have been prized for thousands of years. Egyptian excavations by archeologists dating back to 3200 B.C.E have found garnet beads. Garnets were used in making 4^th century Asian seals. In the early 1800s, pyrope garnet was discovered in the Czech Republic and soon started a European fashion craze in jewelry. Because a part of the Czech Republic was formerly known as Bohemia, this deposit of pyrope garnet is sometimes called "Bohemian Garnet." Deposits of pyrope can be found today in China, Madagascar, Myanmar, South America, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United States.