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Garnet is the name used for a large group of rock-forming minerals. All species of garnets possess similar physical properties and crystal forms, but differ in chemical composition. The different species are pyrope, almandine , spessartine, grossular (varieties of which are hessonite or cinnamon-stone and tsavorite), uvarovite and andradite . The garnets make up two solid solution series: pyrope- almandine -spessartine and uvarovite-grossular- andradite .

These minerals are found throughout the world in metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks. Most garnet found near Earth's surface forms when a sedimentary rock with a high aluminium content, such as shale , is subjected to heat and pressure intense enough to produce schist or gneiss . Garnet is also found in the rocks of contact metamorphism, subsurface magma chambers, lava flows, deep-source volcanic eruptions, and the soils and sediments formed when garnet-bearing rocks are weathered and eroded.

Most humans associate the phrase "garnet" with a pink gemstone; but, they are regularly surprised to research that garnet occurs in many different shades and has many different makes use of. In the US, the predominant industrial makes use of of garnet in 2012 were water-jet slicing (35%), abrasive blasting media (30%), water filtration granules (20%), and abrasive powders (10%).

The most generally encountered minerals within 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 can be found as person crystals, flow-worn pebbles, granular aggregates, and large occurrences. Their chemical composition, particular gravity, hardness, and colorings are listed underneath.

Garnet Minerals

MineralCompositionSpecific GravityHardnessColours
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
The compositions listed above are for end members of several solid solution series. There are a number of other garnet minerals that are less frequently encountered and not as important in industrial use. They include goldmanite, kimzeyite, morimotoite, schorlomite, hydrogrossular, hibschite, katoite, knorringite, majorite, and calderite.

As visible above, there are a variety of exceptional kinds of garnet, and each has a exclusive chemical composition. There also are strong answer series between most of the garnet minerals. This wide variation in chemistry determines lots of their physical residences. As an instance, the calcium garnets commonly have a lower specific gravity, a decrease hardness and are generally inexperienced in color. In contrast, the iron and manganese garnets have a better particular gravity, a greater hardness and are typically red in color.

How Does Garnet Form?

Most garnet paperwork at convergent plate obstacles in which shale is being acted upon by using nearby metamorphism. The warmth and stress of metamorphism breaks chemical bonds and causes minerals to recrystallise into systems which can be stable underneath the brand new temperature-pressure environment. The aluminum garnet, almandine, usually bureaucracy on this environment.

As these rocks are metamorphosed, the garnets begin as tiny grains and extend slowly over the years as metamorphism progresses. As they grow, they displace, update, and consist of the encompassing rock substances. The photograph underneath shows a microscopic view of a garnet grain that has grown inside a schist matrix. It included a number of the host rock's mineral grains as it grew. This explains why such a lot of garnets shaped by means of nearby metamorphism are notably blanketed.

The calcium garnets typically form when argillaceous limestone is altered into marble by contact metamorphism along the edges of igneous intrusions. These are andradite, grossular, and uvarovite, the slightly softer, typically green garnets with a lower specific gravity. Two calcium garnets are highly regarded in the gem trade; they are tsavorite (a bright green grossular) and demantoid (a golden-green andradite).

Garnet often occurs as an accessory mineral in igneous rocks such as granite . Many people are familiar with almandine garnet because it is sometimes seen as dark red crystals in the igneous rocks used as granite countertops. Spessartine is an orange garnet found as crystals in granite pegmatites . Pyrope is a red garnet that is brought to Earth's surface in pieces of peridotite that were torn from the mantle during deep-source volcanic eruptions. Garnet is also found in basaltic lava flows.

Garnets are relatively durable minerals. They are regularly located focused in the soils and sediments that form while garnet-bearing rocks are weathered and eroded. These alluvial garnets are regularly the target of mining operations due to the fact they may be clean to mine and do away with from the sediment/soil by mechanical processing.

Uses of Garnet

Garnet as an Industrial Mineral

Garnet has been used as a gemstone for heaps of years. In the beyond a hundred and fifty years, it has visible many extra makes use of as an business mineral. The chart beneath indicates current business makes use of of garnet in the United States. Garnet is likewise used as a hallmark mineral all through mineral exploration and geologic tests.

Garnet Abrasives

Waterjet Cutting

Abrasive Blasting


The first industrial use of garnet became as an abrasive. Garnet is a fantastically hard mineral with a hardness that stages among 6.5 and 7.5 at the Mohs Scale. That lets in it to be used as an effective abrasive in many varieties of production. When crushed, it breaks into angular portions that provide sharp edges for slicing and sanding. Small granules of uniform length are bonded to paper to supply a reddish coloration sandpaper that is extensively utilized in woodworking shops. Garnet is likewise beaten, screened to unique sizes, and bought as abrasive granules and powders. In the US, New York and Idaho had been critical sources of industrial garnet for abrasives.

The largest business use of garnet within the United States is in waterjet slicing. A system called a waterjet cutter produces a high-strain jet of water with entrained abrasive granules. When those are directed at a chunk of metal, ceramic, or stone, a cutting motion can arise that produces little or no dirt and cuts at a low temperature. Waterjet cutters are utilized in production and mining.

Garnet granules are also utilized in abrasive blasting (generally known as "sand blasting"). In those processes, a tool propels a move of abrasive granules (also referred to as "media") in opposition to a floor the usage of a exceptionally pressurized fluid (typically air or water) as a propellant. Abrasive blasting is carried out for you to easy, clean, or put off oxidation products from metals, brick, stone, and different substances. It is commonly tons faster than sanding by hand or with a sanding device. It can smooth small and problematic surfaces that different cleaning techniques could leave out. Abrasives of numerous hardnesses can be used to smooth a surface of extra hardness, without unfavorable the floor.

Garnet granules are regularly used as a filter out media. Small garnet particles are used to fill a field thru which a liquid flows. The pore spaces of the garnet are small sufficient to allow passage of the liquid however are too small to permit passage of some contaminant particles, which might be filtered from the flow. Garnet is ideal for this use due to the fact it is rather inert and has a tremendously high specific gravity. Garnet granules, crushed and graded to about zero.3 millimetres in length, may be used to filter out contaminant debris as small as a few microns in diameter. Garnet's excessive unique gravity and excessive hardness reduce bed enlargement and particle abrasion at some point of back flushing.

Garnet as a Geological Indicator Mineral

Although most of the garnets found at Earth's surface have formed within the crust, some garnets are brought up from the mantle during deep-source volcanic eruptions. These eruptions entrain pieces of mantle rock known as "xenoliths" and deliver them to the surface in a structure known as a "pipe." These xenoliths are the source of most diamonds found at or near Earth's surface.

Although xenoliths comprise diamonds, they regularly comprise a brilliant quantity of garnets for each diamond, and those garnets are commonly large in size. These deep-supply garnets are very one of a kind from the garnets that shape within the crust at shallow depth. So, a terrific way to prospect for diamonds is to look for these unique garnets. The garnets function "indicator minerals" for geologists exploring for diamond deposits. As the xenoliths climate, their garnets are liberated in massive numbers. These unusual garnets then pass downslope in soils and streams. Geologists who find them can comply with the garnet path to the supply deposit. Some of the diamond pipes in Canada were located through following a garnet trail produced with the aid of transferring ice.

Garnets as Gemstones

Garnet has been used as a gemstone for over 5000 years. It has been found within the jewelry of many Egyptian burials and was the most popular gemstone of Ancient Rome. It is a lovely gem that is generally offered without treatment of any type. It is also durable and commonplace enough that it can be used in jewellery at a extraordinarily low price.

Garnet maintains as a popular gemstone these days. It serves as a birthstone for the month of January and is a conventional gem given on a 2d anniversary. Most people will consider a red gemstone after they listen the name "garnet" due to the fact they're no longer conscious that garnet happens in a lot of colors. However, gem-satisfactory garnets arise in every color with crimson being the maximum common and blue garnets being especially uncommon.

Red almandine is the crimson garnet most usually found in jewelry due to the fact it's miles abundant and cheaper. Pyrope and spessartine are reddish garnets that are generally encountered in jewellery for the identical reason. In recent decades, green demantoid garnet has grow to be famous. It has a dispersion of 0.057 that offers it a "fireplace" which exceeds that of diamond's at zero.044. Green tsavorite has a vibrant, rich shade this is very much like emerald. It is commonly used as an opportunity stone to emerald. Both of those inexperienced garnets are becoming greater popular, but their price is a good deal higher than almandine.

Properties of Garnet

Chemical FormulaGarnet is a series of several different minerals with unique chemical formulas. SeeThe chemical formula of Garnet above for details.
ColourRed, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray, Black
Hardness6.5 - 8.5
Crystal SystemIsometric
Refractive Index1.780 - 1.889
SG3.5 - 4.3
TransparencyTransparent to translucent
Double RefractionNone
LusterVitreous; some forms adamantine or submetallic
CleavageNone. May exhibit parting.
Mineral ClassGarnet

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