Western Mineral Resources

U.S. Geological Survey
Fact Sheet 2006-3149
Version 1.0

Garnet—An Essential Industrial Mineral and January’s Birthstone

By James G. Evans, Phillip R. Moyle, David G. Frank, and Donald W. Olson


close-up photograph of garnets in hand specimen
Photograph of a mineral specimen containing large crystals of the garnet mineral spessartine (red), showing the distinctive “euhedral isometric” crystal form of garnet. Used since ancient times for jewelry, the first industrial use of garnet was probably in coated sandpaper manufactured in the United States by Henry Hudson Barton in 1878. The United States currently consumes about 16 percent of the global production of industrial garnet. (Copyrighted photo by Stan Celestian/courtesy of Glendale Community College).

Garnet is one of the most common minerals in the world. Occurring in almost any color, it is most widely known for its beauty as a gem stone. Because of its hardness and other properties, garnet is also an essential industrial mineral used in abrasive products, non-slip surfaces, and filtration. To help manage our Nation's resources of such essential minerals, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides crucial data and scientific information to industry, policymakers, and the public.

Download this two-page Fact Sheet, (fs-2006-3149.pdf; 2 MB).

For questions about the content of this report, contact Jim Evans

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