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Garnet: The January Birthstone

Aug 17, 2007
For those who are born in the month of January, they should be familiar to their birthstone, which is garnet. It is a wonderful stone with great properties and a variety of uses. It is recognized as the birthstone for January and is used as a gem for jewelry, but it is also a material that is used in industrial processes.

Garnet is a wonderful gemstone that comes in many different shapes and colors. But there is more to garnet than being a birthstone of January. Let's take a look at some of the facts about this wonderful gem.

The Uses of Garnet

Garnet is considered to be one of the most, if not the most versatile gems in the world market today. The use of garnet can be traced back to the ancient times, particularly the Bronze Age, when it was primarily used as an abrasive and a gemstone. Today, industrial garnet is far more valued in aggregate terms than gem garnets. The production of garnet for industrial processes is at least 50 times bigger than the production of gemstone garnet.

The first documented use of garnet for industrial processes can be traced back in 1878, when Barton Mines Corp. manufactured it as a coating for sandpaper. Today, aside from being an abrasive, it is also used to cut steel in water jets under high pressure. States like Alaska, California, Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Idaho have wonderful sources of garnet.

Garnet is also used as an indicator for determining the stages of rock formation. It is used in the process of defining the metamorphic stages of rocks. It is also used to detect the formation of igneous rocks.

Pure garnet crystals are commonly used as gemstones for jewelries. Let's take a look at the different qualities of a garnet as a gemstone.

Garnet Gemstones

Garnet gemstones come in different colors and can change colors if they are placed against different kinds of light. The more popular colors of garnet gemstones are pink to purple red or brownish red. Actually, the colors of garnet gemstones cover the color spectrum pretty well. Some people would say that one can find any color of garnet except for blue. In reality, there has been documented evidence that there exists blue garnet. A blue garnet specimen was discovered in the last decade in Bekily, Madagascar.

Almandine and Pyrope are popularly known as the most common types of garnet, and perhaps the most affordable ones. Rhodolite is also a popular type and this is usually mined in places like India, Africa, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Another type of garnet is the Tsavorite, which is usually found in Kenya and Tanzania.

History had been witness to the different mystical powers that are associated with garnet. Modern legends would tell us that garnet stones are associated with night vision and success. In the tradition of the Hebrews, garnet is believed to be one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of Aaron. While in Christian tradition, garnet is associated with the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and is therefore connected with the concept of salvation. It is also believed that in the story of Noah, he used a large piece of a red-colored garnet to be able to illuminate his ark during the great storm. The Quoran also refers to garnet as the light of the fourth heaven.

There are also beliefs that garnet can be used to ensure safety during trips. It is also believed that garnet can cure diseases and food poisoning.

Garnet is a gemstone that got its name from the Greek word "granatus" which literally means grain. It refers to the likeness of the structure of the gem to a group of grains. It is also associated with the pomegranate fruit, which resembles the color of the most common garnets and whose seeds resemble the structure of the gemstone.

No matter what kind or what color of garnet we might prefer, one's thing for sure- that garnet stones are definitely versatile and beautiful. One doesn't need to use a microscope to be able to appreciate the beauty of garnet. The people who were born in January are very lucky to have garnet as their gemstone.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://www.artisan-jewelry-online.com where you can learn more about gems and jewelry like the garnet.
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