This gem was christened carbunculus alabandius by Pliny the Elder after the city of Alabanda in Asia Minor. Carbunculus refers to its frequent cabochon or convex cut, known as the carbuncle. Knights often wore those gems as protection against wounds and poison. The great German Emperor, Otto, was given a valuable carbuncular by his son: it adorned the Emperor’s crown under the name of ‘The Wise One’.


This is the brownish red to reddish violet aluminium-iron garnet, its colour deepening as the iron content increases. Almandines are formed by various rock-forming processes, which means they are found in almost every important gemstone locality worldwide, large deposits being found in Sri Lanka and Australia.