Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rock Review: Garnet

For those born in January, Garnet is your birth stone!
Geology Buzz
Garnets come in a wide array of varieties and colors based on their chemical compositions. You may have heard of Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular , Hessonite, Tsavorite, Uvarovite or Andradite. These are all species of Garnets! Garnets occur in a rainbow of colors including pink, brown, black, green, blue, purple, orange, red, yellow and even colorless. The most well known color of garnet is the transparent blood red or deep crimson tone that many people are attracted to found most commonly in Almandine Garnet. The rarest color of Garnet is the Blue Garnet which also has the ability to change its color under incandescent light.
Because the chemical makeup of Garnet can vary greatly depending on the variety, it also can score differently on Moh’s scale of hardness. Generally speaking, Garnets register a 6.5-7.5 on the scale.
Fun Facts
Garnets have been well loved and used in jewelry and art since the Romans ruled the world. In fact, the name for garnet is derived from the Latin word for pomegranate, due to the deep red color of many of the gems. The Romans and subsequent Barbarian cultures that occupied former Roman lands used the gem in a cloisonné technique inlaid in gold to depict artistic scenes and designs. Today, we use them mostly in either cut gem or druzy style jewelry. It is the state gem of both New York and Connecticut. Some unexpected industrial uses of garnet are as an abrasive for sandpaper and sand blasting, as well as an element in certain types of filtration systems.
Garnets are thought to be a protective gem for those on journeys. Giving Garnet as a gift can be interpreted as a symbol of love and wishes for safe travel and a speedy return home. Do you know any globe trotters who might benefit from some Garnet? Check out these finds in Garnet from Layne Designs.

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