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Keep reading to discover more about garnet
- Mineralogy and geology*
- Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
- Common Associations
Mineralogy and Geology of Garnet
Garnet is a group of minerals with a common structure and variable chemistry, with a representative formula of
X3Z2(SiO4)3 where X = Mg, Ca, Fe(II), Mn(II), and Z = Al, Fe(III), Cr(III), V(III).
The most common 6 garnets are:
Shades of red to black
Shades of red, orange, purple, pink, clear
Shades of red, orange, yellow, brown
Shades of yellow, green, brown, black; green is called demantoid garnet
Shades of rown, orange, red, yellow, green, clear, pink
Shades of green, black
Rhodolite garnet is a solid solution of almandine and pyrope, named for its pink color, rhodolite was first discovered in North Carolina by renowned mineralogist William Earl Hidden in the late 1890's.
Grouping: member of the Garnet Group
Crystal system: isometric
Crystal habit: well-formed dodecahedra or trapezohedra, also massive or rounded grains
Fracture: sub-conchoidal - conchoidal
Luster: vitreous, resinous
Diaphaneity: transparent, translucent
Moh’s scale hardness: 6 ½ – 7 ½ depending on type
Streak: white (none, harder than streak plate)
Specific gravity: 3.5 - 4.32 dependent on type
Named after: “Garnet” is from granatum, for pomegranate, due to its color
- Almandine - in 1546 by Georgius Agricola [Georg Bauer] for Alabanda in Turkey, an ancient gem cutting center, presumably where almandine was fashioned into gemstones.
- Pyrope - From the Greek "pyropos", "fiery-eyed", in allusion to the red hue.
- Spessartine - Re-named in 1832 by François Sulpice Beudant after its type locality in the Spessart Mountains, Germany
- Andradite - Named in 1868 by James Dwight Dana in honor of José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva [June 13, 1763 Santos, Brazil - April 6, 1838 Niterói, Brazil], Brazilian mineralogist, who first described and named what Dana (1868) defined as a subvariety of andradite.
- Grossular - Originally named "cinnamon stone" ("Kanelstein" in German) in 1803 by Abraham Gottlob Werner and renamed grossularite by Werner in 1808. Named for the color of gooseberries (Ribes grossularium) as the original specimens were this color.
- Uvarovite - Named after Count Sergey Semeonovich Uvarov (1786-1855), Russian statesman and scholar, President of the Academy of St Petersburg (1818-1855).
- Almandine – the most common garnet, occurs in metamorphic rocks and pegmatites
- Pyrope – metamorphic rocks and pegmatites
- Spessartine – metamorphic rocks and pegmatites
- Andradite - In skarns from contact metamorphosed impure limestones or calcic igneous rocks; in chlorite schists and serpentinites; in alkalic igneous rocks, then typically titaniferous.
- Grossular - Contact and regionally metamorphosed calcareous rocks. Rodingites
- Uvarovite - Hydrothermal alteration of chromite-bearing serpentinite, metamorphosed limestones, and skarns.
Garnet is widely used as an industrial abrasive due to its hardness for both dry and wet blasting applications. Next time you use sand paper, check to see if it’s little garnets stuck to the paper! A summary of the industrial uses of garnet in the United States can be found HERE.
Garnets have great scientific significance because they act as geobarometers and geothermometers for the rocks in which they occur. By carefully analyzing the chemistry of garnet, mica and other minerals that occur within a single metamorphic rock, the temperature and pressure conditions at peak metamorphism can be inferred by comparison with experimental results at known pressure and temperature. This has led to a much greater understanding of the conditions of metamorphism in continental crust.
- Garnet is the official state gemstone of New York, almandine of Connecticut, star garnet of Idaho, and grossular of Vermont.
- Before instrumental identification of minerals was possible, polished cabochons of garnet (and other red stones) were called carbuncles.
- The oldest garnet found (and dated) so far is about 2.6 billion years old, and the youngest about 5 million years old.
- The third largest ever discovered garnet crystal was found at the the Barton Mine, Gore Mountain, North Creek, New York. It was 3 feet in diameter and weighed an estimated 3400 pounds.
- The second largest garnet was about 7.5 feet diameter and weighed 83,000 pounds.
- One internet article reports that the largest recently discovered garnet crystal is from Australia. The report claims that it's about 200 feet in diameter and 130 feet high. It has not been removed from the mine where it was discovered by orders of the Australian government.
- Watch a fun video of large garnets being mined in New South Wales, Australia, HERE.
Garnet in New Mexico
Garnet occurs in several counties of New Mexico. Notably, pyrope garnet occurs just north of Gallup in the Navajo volcanic field, and andradite garnet occurs in the metamorphic rocks of the Picuris Mountains near Taos, often accompanying staurolite. Andradite can also be collected in Santa Fe County. To read more, click HERE.
Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
The association of red garnet with energy, love, passion, and blood links it to the energies of the base chakra and the heart, so garnet is known as a stone of health. Its energy is rapid and direct, extracting negative energy and transmuting it into positive energy.
Garnet is also known as a stone of commitment to the positive – to one’s own health, well-being, and purpose. With a more positive perspective, you can more easily surrender to changes that are beyond your control, freeing yourself to explore new solutions and fresh starts.
The flash of fire that can sometimes be seen in garnet gemstones is symbolic of the increased energy flow that garnet supports. Garnet can thus be used to support increased energy for intentions.
Garnet energy is strong and fast-acting, so many practitioners suggest using garnet crystals for only short periods of time.
Some crystal energy practitioners distinguish among the energies of the various species of garnet; here’s a synopsis.
Almandine (dark red) – supports prosperity of physical security and abundance in the physical world.
Andradite (dark red - brown) – its darker color relates to the base chakra, supporting protection, grounding, a deeper sense of security, and improved feelings of strength.
Grossular (green red) – supports prosperity of health and wealth, and detoxificiation.
Pyrope (red) – supports physical energy, and the circulation of blood
Rhodolite (pink to purple red) – its lighter color supports more gentle energy changes. It supports prosperity of the heart with respect to oneself and others, feelings of self-worth, and recognizing one’s gifts
Spessartine (orange brown) – supports prosperity of creative energy and vigor, allowing one to take action towards dreams
Uvarovite (green) – supports prosperity of wealth, in that one joyfully accepts what is offered by the universe now.
Wearing and Carrying Garnet
Crystals of garnet are relatively easy to obtain, and many are small, making them easy to carry in a pocket or small pouch.
Garnet jewelry such as earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants can be worn to support intentions of increased energy, health, love, or wealth. A garnet pendant worn close to the heart can support one through challenging emotional times.
Garnet energy can be overwhelming to those sensitive to it, so keep this in mind when wearing garnet jewelry.
Feng Shui and Garnet
To work with the energy of garnet in your home, office, or outdoor environment, consider in what areas you might want to attract and activate what garnet supports: prosperity of health, wealth, energy flow and other forms of abundance. The two bagua* areas where garnet might be particularly effective are:
Li (the element fire, and the fame area) - located in the center of the wall furthest away from you when standing in the door of your house, room, office).
Kun (the love area) located in the farthest right corner of room / house / office when you stand in the doorway.
Crystal Grids and Garnet
In her book Crystal Gridwork, Kiera Fogg classifies the use of various minerals in grids depending on their crystal form. Garnet is an isometric crystal, and this class of crystals work well as “enhancers” in crystal grids. Garnet can support one’s desire to “improve”, or improving circumstances, magnifying success, or self-improvement. She also includes garnet in a romance grid.
Common Associations for Garnet
Color: red, green, orange, blue, yellow, black, brown
Chakra: root, heart
Number: vibrates to 2
Numbers and Zodiac Signs – depends on type:
- Garnet (overall) 2; Leo, Virgo, Capricorn, Aquarius
- Almandine – 1; Virgo & Scorpio
- Andradite – 4; Aries
- Grossular – 2, 6; Cancer
- Pyrope – 5; Cancer, Leo
- Rhodolite – 7; Leo
- Spessartine – 1, 7; Aquarius
- Uvarovite – 7; Aquarius
Bagua areas: Li
Wedding Anniversary: 2nd
* Mineralogical information is from mindat.org
** Always consult with your medical professional for any physical or long-term healing issues.
*** Metaphysical properties come from:
Love Is in the Earth (1995) Melody, Earth-Love Publishing House, 726 pp.
The Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals (2003) Judy Hall, Walking Stick Press, 399 pp.
Crystal Muse (2017) Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro, Hay House, 285 pp.
Crystal Gridwork (2018) Kiera Fogg, Weiser Books, 128 pp.