Antique Garnet Jewellery

Antique garnet jewellery is very collectable today but can you tell the difference between the antique and the newer brooch. I’ve just put two lovely garnet brooches onto the website today which on first glance look very much the same but detailed examination reveals a lot of differences. One of the brooches is a genuine antique and the other a much newer piece of jewellery.

Antique Garnet Jewellery

Antique garnet jewellery comes in all shapes. I’ve seen bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches and of course rings. One thing it tends to have in common is that it is set in silver gilt which is silver given a gold coating to make it look like gold. The gold colour goes better than silver colour with the blood red of the garnets. It’s quite rare to find them set into real gold, perhaps garnets were not regarded highly enough back then.


Let’s look at the two brooches in detail:

The horseshoe brooch has stones which are faceted all over but are quite flat compared to the circle brooch. The metal looks very much the same but turns the brooches over and you can see the difference in the way the two fasten. The horseshoe brooch has a C catch and a T-shaped hinge. The T shape is narrow compared with mid-Victorian brooches, this is most likely from the Edwardian era.  I tested the garnets and these are real gemstones

The circle brooch has red stones which are faceted but they are more pointed than those in the horseshoe brooch. Turn the circle brooch over and you see a rollover clasp and a hinge which is much narrower. This fastener could be anytime from the 1930s through to today. How old is it? I actually don’t know but probably 1930s to 1970s. I have tested these stones and they are garnet coloured glass.

Antique V Modern

Please note this does not mean that all antique garnet brooches have real garnets in or all modern one have glass ones. The reverse can be true and you need to examine and test the stones piece by piece, alternatively ask your jeweller to do this for you.