January’s Birthstone: Garnet


Classification: Nesosilicates
Moh Scale Hardness: 6.5 – 7.5
Can generally be fired in metal clay

Garnets look great with fingerprint jewelry, their colour works very well with silver and they can be fired in place, eliminating the need to set them after firing. That said, they can be set in a variety of ways, depending on the stone’s shape and your skill level. Larger stones can be bezel set, and any stone can be prong set after firing.

Fine silver bezel wire can be embedded in the clay before firing and then stone set after everything else has been done, right down to the final polishing.

Prongs can be made from metal clay and the stone is set after firing, or a sterling silver commercial prong setting can be fired into the metal clay.
* Please note that sterling silver needs to be fired at a low temperature (650 ºC – 1200ºF) otherwise the metal will degrade and become very brittle

Garnet Properties

The best known type of Garnet is undoubtedly the deep red variety. But Garnet comes in many colours, variations of red as you would expect, but also in deep orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink and even colorless! The blue ones being the most rare.
These colors variations are due to the distribution of different minerals in the stone, such as Manganese and Iron.

Their transparency can vary just as much, some have the great gem quality that will let the light shine through and make the facets sparkle, others appear much more ‘dense’ and more opaque.

Garnets are linked to the ancient Goddess Persephone, often portrayed with a sheaf of grain.

In modern mythology Garnets are linked to night vision and to protect in the dark. Its healing properties are connected to the blood, heart & lungs.

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