#7 to #7.5 on Mohs scale, fair to good toughness. Sources are Brazil, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United States. Almandine is probably one of the most familiar of the closely related species that make up the garnet group. It’s a fairly common red garnet, with a color range from orange-red through red to reddish-purple. Almandine was named for Alabanda, an ancient Asian town and an active gemstone trading and fashioning center. Ancient Romans often fashioned almandine garnets as thin, hollowed cabochons to bring out the intensity of their color.
Other species in the garnet group come in a variety of hues from browns and oranges, to vibrant green. As far back as 3100 BC, Egyptians along the Nile worked garnet into beads and inlays. Noah is said to have recognized garnet’s inner fire and used it as a lamp on the bow of the ark. Garnet of all species, including almandine, are considered January birthstones.