Jan 08

Garnet: January’s Birthstone, an Anniversary Gift, and a Good Abrasive – Who would have known?

History

If you were born in January, then your traditional birthstone is garnet.  When most people think of garnets, the think of the common dark red color, but they can come in almost all colors of the rainbow ranging from orange (Spessartite and Hessonite), bright green (Demantoid and Tsavorite), violet and lavender hues(Rhodolite).  There’s a lot more technical information relating to garnets, but we’ll spare you the gemelogical terms and chemical compositions. :-)  The word “Garnet” derives from the Greek word “granatum” or grain/seed as its traditional red color resembles that of a pomegranate seed. Garnets are found primarily in the U.S., Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil and India.  The stone’s history traces back to 3100 B.C., where the Egyptians would craft the gemstone into beads or inlay them into other handmade jewelry. It’s also said that Noah used garnet as a lamp on his ark. Through the ages, garnets have also been deemed to have various healing and protective powers as well as represent love and loyalty.  If you aren’t into traditional wedding anniversary gifts (like paper and cotton), Garnet is also the gemstone for the second wedding anniversary.

Industrial uses

On Moh’s hardness scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest (diamond), garnets range between 6.5-7.5 in hardness.  Because of its durability, secondary, non-gemstone grade garnets are used as abrasives in industrial applications, such as sandblasting, sanding, and water jet cutting.  Industrial grade garnets are primarily found along the coasts of Australia and India.

Caring for your garnet jewelry

Garnets are easy to care for and durable.    Although durable, the stone is not indestructible and can be scratched or broken.  Protect the stone from sharp blows, scratches, and extreme temperature changes. To clean at home, use a mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the gemstone where dust can collect.  Never use toothpaste to clean jewelry!  It’s very abrasive and you will damage your jewelry.  For the best cleaning however, bring your jewelry into the store to have us ultrasonic and steam clean it.  We can also check the setting and prongs to make sure you are not in any risk of losing your stone.

There’s lots to learn about every garnets (we learn something new about them everyday) and we love to geek out on gemstones, so if you would like learn more or check out some beautiful garnets in person, we’ve got a nice assortment of garnet jewelry in store waiting for the perfect home.

Sources: GIA, AGTA, and Wikipedia