Garnets


Writing on the Treehouse Wall

 

Garnets have been used as gemstones and abrasives since the Bronze Age. They fall into the “semi-precious” group of gemstones, which means they are pretty but fairly common.

There are many different species of garnets all of which fall into two solid solution series: pyrope-almandine-spessarite and uvarovite-grossularite-andradite. With so many different kinds of garnet we get many different colors as well. Garnets range in colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink, and colorless. The blue garnet is by far the rarest; it was thought that they didn’t even exist. That is until the late 1990’s when pieces of this rare gem were discovered in Bekily, Madagascar.

But when we think of garnets we think of the beautiful dark red color we are all familiar with. Many garnets have the dark red coloring but the almandine is the most commonly used species. Almandine has many nicknames including Oriental garnet, almandine ruby, and carbuncle.

But let’s not forget that garnets also have a more practical application: abrasives. Garnet sand is commonly used as a replacement for silica sand in sand blasting. When mixed with very high pressure water, garnets are used to cut steel and other materials in water jets. Garnet sand is also used for water filtration and garnet paper is used for finishing bare wood.

                    

 

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