Garnet is the birthstone for January, but there’s lots more to know about this gorgeous mineral (ah, see, a bonus fact. Garnets are minerals!).
Here are ten more handy trivia tidbits about garnet:
Most people think of a dark, red stone, but garnets come in every color except blue.
Garnet jewelry has been in use for centuries. It’s been found in the ruins of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
African countries are the source of most garnets; however, India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Central America, South America and the United States also produce them.
Rock formations that are igneous or metamorphic are where garnets form. Typically with alluvial deposits producing the highest quality stones.
In 1892, the Hunzas in the Karakoram region used garnet bullets to fight off imperial British forces. They believed garnet bullets were more effective than lead bullets.
Six main garnet types are used for gemstones: almandine, andradite, grossularite, pyrope, spessartine and uvarovite.
Through the ages, soldiers have carried garnets onto the battlefield to protect themselves from injury or death. Ancient Greek sailors would carry along garnet as good luck talismans.
Several states in the U.S. have designated garnet as their official state mineral.
The largest garnet ever found was discovered underground in New York City, below Broadway and 7th Street. The garnet weighs about ten pounds, is about the size of a bowling ball and currently resides in the archives of the American Museum of Natural History.
Garnet coated sandpaper is used in woodworking due to the gemstone’s natural abrasive property. Commercial production of garnet coated sandpaper was started by Henry Hudson Barton of Barton Mines in 1878.