Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garnet's More Abrasive Side

The garnet is well known as the birthstone of January, and I have known that other hand workers, like myself, love utilizing its beautiful array of varied colors in jewelry designs. What I was unaware of, were other hand workers who utilize the more abrasive side of the garnet.

Garnets are known for their abrasive qualities and are used as the abrasive texture on sandpaper preferred by woodworkers when finishing bare wood. It is also used in many other abrasive techniques including sandblasting, and cutting steel. And finally incorporated in water filtration. Apparently, there is garnet-rich sand in large quantities in Australia and India - hmmm it is too bad that they are not these brilliant red beaches next to blue waters - wouldn't that be something. But it is interesting the varying uses of this month's birthstone.

Garnets were also among the first semiprecious stones to be mentioned in writings from ancient times. They have a deep history with warriors and journeyers. Other references have been made to the garnet's association with fire and illumination. It has been said that garnet was hung in the Ark by Noah to light the path and the inside of the boad. Healers today use garnet in cures for nightmares.

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