Home Gemstone Garnet


Garnet, any member of a group of not unusual silicate minerals that have comparable crystal structures and chemical compositions. They may be colourless, black, and lots of sun shades of red and inexperienced.

Garnet Physical and Chemical Properties

The most normally encountered minerals in the garnet institution consist of almandine, pyrope, spessartine, andradite, grossular, and uvarovite. They all have a vitreous luster, a obvious-to-translucent diaphaneity, a brittle tenacity, and a loss of cleavage. They may be found as man or woman crystals, stream-worn pebbles, granular aggregates, and massive occurrences.

Their chemical composition, unique gravity, hardness, and colorings are listed underneath.

Chemical ClassificationSilicate
ColorTypically red, but can be orange, green, yellow, purple, black, or brown. Blue garnets are extremely rare.
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent
Mohs Hardness6.5 to 7.5
Specific Gravity3.5 to 4.3
Diagnostic PropertiesHardness, specific gravity, isometric crystal habit, lack of cleavage
Chemical CompositionGeneral formula: X3Y2(SiO4)3
Crystal SystemIsometric

Garnet Minerals Types

MineralCompositionSpecific GravityHardnessColors
AlmandineFe3Al2(SiO4)34.207 – 7.5red, brown
PyropeMg3Al2(SiO4)33.567 – 7.5red to purple
SpessartineMn3Al2(SiO4)34.186.5 – 7.5orange to red to brown
AndraditeCa3Fe2(SiO4)33.906.5 – 7green, yellow, black
GrossularCa3Al2(SiO4)33.576.5 – 7.5green, yellow, red, pink, clear
UvaroviteCa3Cr2(SiO4)33.856.5 – 7green

As visible above, there are a selection of different varieties of garnet, and every has a unique chemical composition. There are also strong answer series among most of the garnet minerals. This wide version in chemistry determines a lot of their bodily residences. As an example, the calcium garnets generally have a decrease specific gravity, a decrease hardness and are normally inexperienced in colour. In contrast, the iron and manganese garnets have a better particular gravity, a more hardness and are normally pink in shade.

XPL – Garnet Phyllite
Euhedral garnet in green ompacitic pyroxene. PPL

Optical Properties of Garnet

FormulaPyrope: Mg3Al2(SiO4)3
Almandine: Fe3Al2(SiO4)3
Spessartine: Mn3Al2(SiO4)3
Grossular: Ca3Al2(SiO4)3
Andradite: Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3
Uvarovite: Ca3Cr2(SiO4)3
Crystal HabitRounded grains, massive granular (coarse or fine)
Hardness and StreakH = 6.5-7.5

Streak: White

CleavageNo distinct cleavage
Color/PleochroismPyrope: deep red to nearly black
Almandine: deep red to brownish red
Spessartine: brownish to red
Grossularite: white, green, yellow, brown, pale red
Andradite: yellow, green, brown, black
Uvarovite: emerald-green
Hydrogrossular: green, colorless, pink, brown
LusterVitreous to greasy or silky
Specific GravityG = 3.1-4.2
Refractive Indexn = 1.714-1.887

Geological importance of Garnet

The Garnet organization is a key mineral in decoding the genesis of many igneous and metamorphic rocks thru geothermobarometry. Diffusion of factors is highly sluggish in garnet as compared to rates in lots of different minerals, and they are also rather proof against alteration. Hence, character garnets typically maintain compositional zonations that are used to interpret the temperature-time histories of the rocks wherein they grew. It grains that lack compositional zonation generally are interpreted as having been homogenized with the aid of diffusion, and the inferred homogenization also has implications for the temperature-time history of the host rock.

Garnet Distribution

Garnet is a common mineral that belongs to the group of silicate minerals known as nesosilicates. It is widely distributed and can be found in various types of rocks and geological settings around the world. Here are some general notes on the distribution of garnet mineral:

  1. Metamorphic Rocks: Garnet is commonly found in metamorphic rocks, which are rocks that have undergone changes in their mineralogical and/or textural composition due to high temperature and/or pressure. Garnet is an indicator mineral of medium to high-grade metamorphism, and it can be found in a wide range of metamorphic rocks, including schist, gneiss, amphibolite, eclogite, and granulite. Metamorphic rocks with garnet can be found in many mountain ranges and regions with extensive tectonic activity, such as the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States, the Alps in Europe, the Himalayas in Asia, and the Andes in South America.
  2. Igneous Rocks: Garnet can also be found in some igneous rocks, which are rocks that form from the solidification of molten material (magma). Garnet is typically found in certain types of igneous rocks that have undergone high-pressure crystallization, such as in some granulite facies rocks and in certain types of pyroxenites. These occurrences of garnet in igneous rocks are relatively less common compared to garnet in metamorphic rocks.
  3. Skarn Deposits: Skarns are a type of metasomatic deposit formed by the interaction of hydrothermal fluids with carbonate-rich rocks. Garnet is a common mineral in skarn deposits and can occur in various compositions, including grossular, andradite, and pyrope. Skarn deposits are found in a variety of geological settings, including areas with intrusions of igneous rocks, contact zones between different rock types, and regions with hydrothermal activity. Examples of garnet-bearing skarn deposits can be found in regions such as Scandinavia, the Alps, and the western United States.
  4. Beach Sands: In some coastal areas, particularly in beach sands, garnet can be found as heavy minerals that are resistant to weathering and erosion. Garnet is relatively durable and can survive transportation by rivers and currents, eventually accumulating in beach sands due to its high density. These beach sands with garnet are found in various parts of the world, including beaches in India, Australia, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
  5. Gemstone Deposits: Garnet is also mined for its gemstone varieties, such as almandine, spessartine, and demantoid, which are used in jewelry and other ornamental purposes. Gem-quality garnet deposits can be found in various regions around the world, including Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Tanzania, Russia, and the United States.

It’s important to note that the distribution of garnet can vary depending on the specific type of garnet, as well as the geological settings and conditions under which it forms. The above list provides a general overview of garnet distribution, but there may be additional occurrences in specific localities or geological settings not mentioned here. Geological surveys and scientific research continue to contribute to our understanding of the distribution and occurrence of garnet minerals worldwide.

Uses of garnets

  • Red garnets were the maximum normally used gemstones inside the Late Antique Roman world, and the Migration Period art of the “barbarian” peoples who took over the territory of the Western Roman Empire. They had been specially used inlaid in gold cells inside the cloisonné technique, a fashion frequently just referred to as garnet cloisonné, observed from Anglo-Saxon England, as at Sutton Hoo, to the Black Sea.
  • Garnet sand is a superb abrasive, and a not unusual substitute for silica sand in sand blasting. Alluvial garnet grains that are rounder are extra suitable for such blasting treatments. Mixed with very excessive pressure water, It is used to reduce metallic and other materials in water jets. For water jet reducing, garnet extracted from hard rock is suitable on the grounds that it’s miles extra angular in form, consequently more efficient in cutting.
  • Garnet paper is preferred via cabinetmakers for completing naked wooden.
  • Garnet sand is also used for water filtration media.
  • As an abrasive garnet can be broadly divided in two categories; blasting grade and water jet grade. The rock, as it’s far mined and accrued, is crushed to finer grains; all pieces that are large than 60 mesh (250 micrometers) are typically used for sand blasting. The portions between 60 mesh (250 micrometers) and 2 hundred mesh (seventy four micrometers) are commonly used for water jet slicing. The final garnet portions that are finer than 200 mesh (74 micrometers) are used for glass polishing and lapping. Regardless of the software, the larger grain sizes are used for faster work and the smaller ones are used for finer finishes.
  • There are unique forms of abrasive garnets which may be divided based on their beginning. The largest source of abrasive garnet these days is garnet-rich seashore sand that is quite considerable on Indian and Australian coasts and the principle manufacturers today are Australia and India.
  • This material is specially popular due to its consistent supplies, big quantities and smooth material. The commonplace troubles with this fabric are the presence of ilmenite and chloride compounds. Since the fabric has been clearly overwhelmed and floor on the beaches for beyond centuries, the material is normally to be had in excellent sizes most effective. Most of the these rocks at the Tuticorin beach in south India is eighty mesh, and ranges from 56 mesh to one hundred mesh size.
  • River garnet is in particular ample in Australia. The river sand garnet happens as a placer deposit.
  • Rock garnet is possibly the garnet kind used for the longest time frame. This form of garnet is produced in America, China and western India. These crystals are beaten in generators and then purified with the aid of wind blowing, magnetic separation, sieving and, if required, washing. Being freshly beaten, this garnet has the sharpest edges and therefore plays some distance higher than different kinds of this rock. Both the river and the beach garnet be afflicted by the tumbling effect of masses of thousands of years which rounds off the rims.


  • Nesse, W.D. (2012) “Garnet” in Introduction to Mineralogy 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York. p. 341-344.
  • Sarah Vorhies (’06), Kelsey Moore (’13), Emma Roth (’17)
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