Melanite was named in 1799 by Abraham Gottlob Werner from the Classical Greek MELAS, MELAN which means Black and the German It, Ite.

Melanite is a glossy black Andradite garnet. It is composed of calcium iron silicate with an isometric, dodecahedral, and trapezohedral crystal structure.

Melanite is magnetic due to its iron content. Though most often in black, it can come in very dark-red color.

Melanite has no cleavage and ranges from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. These make Melanite an excellent stone that can be cut into different shapes and forms.

Melanite is translucent to opaque. It has a high refractive index with a sparkly sub-adamantine luster. In order to show its excellent luster, Melanite is often cut in brilliant-cut.

Melanite is also known as Titanian Andradite because of its titanium content. It is titanium which gives Melanite its lustrous black color.

Melanite is a variety of the rare Andradite Garnet. The other varieties of Andradite are the rare green Demantoid Garnet which is valued for its beautiful luster and Topazolite which is yellow-green in color and rarer than Demantoid.

Andradite was discovered by Bonifacio de Andrada Silva from which the name Andradite is derived from.

Melanite comes naturally and is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

The Garnet family is a large group of gemstone which include other Andradites like Demantoid and Topazolite. The different species are Pyrope (Rhodolite), Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular (varieties of which are Hessonite or Cinnamon-Stone and Tsavorite) and Uvarovite and Andradite.

Note, MELANITE is not to be confused with MELONITE which is a telluride of nickel.
Melanite is also frequently mistaken for Onyx, Black Tourmaline, Black Spinel, Black Sapphire, Jet, Black Diamond and even black glass.

Melanite is found in Russia, Azerbaijan, Mali (Africa), Mexico, Germany, France, Italy and in the United States.

Melanite is much used in religious jewelry, such as Melanite Garnet Buddhist Prayer Beads and the Catholic Rosary.

It was said that Melanite can drive away the pestilence and banish insane forms of thinking. Malanite also banishes the Night-mare. Note, in ancient times, the pestilence was thought to come from demonic forces or evil spirits.

Melanite gives protection against epidemics and also lightning strikes.

Melanite encourages positivity and creativity, instills self-confidence, stability and balance. It also brings positive energy to places.

Hindu belief system posits Melanite with the Root Chakra. The root chakra is located near the anus and the genitalia. This chakra is associated with animal instinct of sexual reproduction and sexual desire. It is where one of the most ancient serpent sleeps. The other serpent sleeps at the Solar Plexus, which is located few inches below the navel.

Melanite is a magical and mysterious gemstone used in high-fashion, gothic, and even punk-inspired designs. It comes in large and small sizes. It is also tough and durable.

To clean Melanite simply use a soft cloth with soap and water. Just make sure to rid of all soapy residue.