Although gemology texts have traditionally described rhodolites as one part almandine and two parts pyropegarnets never have just two species in the mix. Small amounts of other garnet species, like grossular and spessartite, are always present in rhodolites. In fact, the higher the spessartite content, the lighter the rhodolite’s color. Nevertheless, the purplish red hue distinguishes rhodolites, not the tone or saturation levels.

Rhodolites can range in color from purplish red to reddish, almost pure purple, and specimens that resemble amethyst in color have been found in North Carolina and India. However, most gem-quality rhodolites have a purplish red color.

Not all purplish red garnets are rhodolites. A chemical analysis is required first to determine if a stone of that color is an almandine-pyrope mix.

Rhodolite gemstones are affordable and make great options for engagement rings as well as January birthstone jewelry.